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					Fish Catching Methods of the World

            Fourth Edition

             Otto Gabriel

             Klaus Lange

            Erdmann Dahm

            Thomas Wendt
© 2005 by Blackwell Publishing Ltd                        Includes bibliographical references and indexes.
                                                          ISBN-13: 978-0-85238-280-6 (hardback : alk. paper)
Editorial Offices:                                         ISBN-10: 0-85238-280-4 (hardback : alk. paper)
Blackwell Publishing Ltd, 9600 Garsington Road,
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Preface to the fourth edition                                                       xi

1     Catching methods in fisheries: an introduction                                 1
1.1   Fisherman and hunter                                                           2
1.2   From subsistence fishing to commercial fisheries                                 3
1.3   Sport fishing and commercial fisheries                                           4
1.4   Active and passive fishing gear                                                 5
1.5   Basic ideas for fishing methods: their distribution and possible improvement    5
1.6   Division of labour and collective fishing                                       7
1.7   Manpower, mechanization and automation                                         9
1.8   Fishing technology                                                            10

2     Fishing by gathering                                                          12
2.1   Hand-picking                                                                  12
2.2   Stranded prey                                                                 16
2.3   Catching by bailing out                                                       17
2.4   Implements for ‘gathering’ in fisheries                                        17
2.5   Fishing with the feet                                                         18
2.6   Mechanization of gathering                                                    19

3     Male and female divers                                                        21
3.1 Divers catching fish and supporting fishing
    operations                                                                      21
3.2 Diving equipment                                                                22
3.3 Female divers                                                                   25
3.4 Tools and collecting bags                                                       26
3.5 Technological progress in diving                                                28

4     Animals as a help in fisheries                                                 31
4.1   Horses and fishermen                                                           31
4.2   Dogs used in fisheries                                                         32
4.3   Fishing with otters                                                           33
4.4   Fishing with birds                                                            33
4.5   Cormorant fishing                                                              34
4.6   Driving fish with diving birds                                                 36

iv                                                Contents

4.7 Sucker fish for catching turtles                           39
4.8 Fishing with octopus                                      39
4.9 Using the friendly porpoise                               40

5     Fish harvesting after stupefying                        42
5.1   Simple forms of mechanical stupefying                   42
5.2   Stupefying with dynamite                                43
5.3   Fish poisoning                                          44
5.4   Fishing with industrial chemicals                       47
5.5   Deoxygenation or suffocation                            48
5.6   Electrical fishing                                       48
5.7   Electrified gear in sea fisheries                         51

6     Spearing, harpooning and shooting fish                   53
6.1    Spearing with pushed gear                             53
6.2    Fish plummets                                         58
6.3    Eel combs                                             58
6.4    Fishing with thrown spears                            60
6.5    Fishing with bow and arrow                            60
6.6    Harpooning                                            62
6.7    Whaling                                               65
6.8    Harpooning swordfish                                   68
6.9    Fishing with blowguns                                 70
6.10   Shooting fish                                          72

7     Fishing with clamps, tongs, rakes and wrenching gear   76
7.1   Clamps                                                 76
7.2   Tongs                                                  77
7.3   Rakes                                                  80
7.4   Wrenching gear for harvesting seaweed                  80
7.5   Further developments                                   81

8     Line fishing: basic implements                           83
8.1   Bobbing                                                 83
8.2   Gorges                                                  86
8.3   Forerunners of modern hooks                             88
8.4   Modern fishing hooks                                     89
8.5   Lines and casts                                         94
8.6   Swivels, stops, rotating links and snaps                96
8.7   Otter boards                                            97
8.8   The kite                                               100
8.9   Stabilizers                                            102

9     Line fishing: gear and methods                          105
9.1 Handlines                                                105
9.2 Pole-and-line fishing                                     108
9.3 Set lines                                                112
                                                     Contents     v

9.4   Bottom longlines                                          114
9.5   Driftlines                                                118
9.6   Troll lines                                               121
9.7   Fishing with roundhaulers                                 126
9.8   Modern progress in line fishing                            127

10 Fishing for sport and recreation                             136
10.1   Rods and reels                                           137
10.2    Float fishing                                            141
10.3   Ground fishing and ledgering                              141
10.4   Spin fishing and jigging                                  143
10.5   Fly fishing                                               146
10.6   Sport trolling and big game fishing                       147

11 Attracting, concentrating and frightening fish                150
11.1   Optical lures                                            151
11.2   Light fishing                                             151
11.3   Chemical lures                                           153
11.4   Sexual lures                                             154
11.5   Acoustic bait                                            155
11.6   Lure lines and aggregating devices                       157
11.7   Fish frightening methods                                 160
11.8   New ideas                                                161

12 Pole-hooks and rippers                                       164
12.1   Pole-hooks and gaffs                                     164
12.2   Fish harrows                                             166
12.3   Pilking with handlines                                   167
12.4   Rippers on stationary lines and troll lines              169
12.5   Rippers for cephalopods                                  173
12.6   Mechanization of jigging                                 175

13 Net material and the art of net-making                       181
13.1   Stone walls, fences and netting                          182
13.2   Primitive knotless netting                               184
13.3   Knotted netting                                          185
13.4   Modern knotless netting                                  187

14 Natural and artificial shelters                               190
14.1   Bundles of brushwood                                     190
14.2   Tubes for shelter                                        192
14.3   Octopus pots                                             195
14.4   Artificial reefs                                          197

15 Permanent and temporary barriers                             199
15.1 Stone walls as tidal weirs and traps                       200
15.2 Fish fences                                                202
vi                                               Contents

15.3 Gratings in flowing waters                              204
15.4 Watched catching chambers                              207
15.5 From barrier to fish trap                               213

16 Trapping                                                 215
16.1 Tubular traps and thorn-lined traps                    215
16.2 Non-return devices                                     218
16.3 Trapping barriers made of fences                       220
16.4 Wooden pots                                            221
16.5 Pots made of wire                                      227
16.6 Traps made of netting                                  229
16.7 Plastic pots                                           236
16.8 Ghost traps                                            237
16.9 Trap systems, weirs and pound nets                     240
16.10 Mechanization in trapping                             246

17 Fishing in the air                                       252
17.1   Salmon traps                                         253
17.2   Fishing with rafts                                   254
17.3   Boat traps                                           254
17.4   Veranda nets                                         257
17.5   Scoop nets for jumping fish                           259
17.6   Angling in the air                                   261
17.7   Pitfall traps for fishes                              262

18 Mechanical fishing gear: traps, lines and snares          264
18.1   Gravity traps                                        265
18.2   Box traps                                            266
18.3   Whippy bough or spring traps                         268
18.4   Torsion traps                                        271
18.5   Snares                                               271

19 Gillnetting                                              275
19.1   Bottom-set gillnets and anchored floating gillnets    278
19.2   Driftnets in sea fisheries and in fresh waters        279
19.3   Dragged gillnets                                     281
19.4   Advantages and disadvantages of gillnets             282
19.5   Mechanization in gillnetting                         283

20 Entangling nets                                          291
20.1   ’Mopping’                                            292
20.2   Single-walled tangle nets                            293
20.3   Tangle nets with snoods or frames                    296
20.4   Trammelnets                                          297
20.5   Double-walled entangling nets                        299
20.6   Combined entangling and gilling nets                 302
20.7   Future trends and mechanization                      303
                                               Contents   vii

21 The drive-in fishery                                    305
21.1   Scare lines                                        306
21.2   Genuine drive-in nets                              307
21.3   Encircling gillnets                                310
21.4   Other gear for drive-in fishery                     311

22 Cover pots and cast nets                               314
22.1   Cover pots                                         314
22.2   Lantern nets                                       317
22.3   Cover nets                                         318
22.4   Hand cast nets                                     320
22.5   Boat cast nets                                     324
22.6   Polynesian rectangular nets                        326

23 Liftnets and fish wheels                                329
23.1   Portable hand liftnets                             331
23.2   Stationary liftnets                                333
23.3   Blanket nets                                       336
23.4   Modern boat liftnets                               341
23.5   Fish wheels                                        346

24 From the scoop basket to the stow net                  350
24.1    Scoop baskets                                     350
24.2    Scoop nets and skimming nets                      352
24.3    Brail nets with purse lines                       359
24.4    Push nets and dragged scoop nets                  359
24.5    Scrape nets                                       362
24.6    Stationary stow nets in rivers                    364
24.7    Stow nets with vessels                            367
24.8    Stow nets in sea fisheries                         369
24.9    Gape nets with wings                              369
24.10   Closable stow nets                                372

25 Dredges and beamtrawls                                 376
25.1   Hand-operated scratchers                           376
25.2   Boat dredges                                       377
25.3   Beamtrawling                                       382
25.4   Electrified beamtrawls                              389

26 Fishing with bottom trawls                             392
26.1   Trawling with outriggers                           392
26.2   Pair trawling                                      393
26.3   Otter boards for bottom trawling                   394
26.4   Increasing the vertical trawl opening              398
26.5   Bottom trawls for sea fisheries                     399
26.6   Shrimp trawling                                    408
26.7   Inland water bottom trawls                         410
viii                                               Contents

27 Trawl fisheries in three dimensions: Fishing with mid-water trawls         414
27.1   Predecessors of mid-water trawls and semi-pelagic trawls              414
27.2   Aimed trawling                                                        418
27.3   Two-boat and one-boat mid-water trawling                              419
27.4   Mid-water trawls in fresh water                                       424
27.5   Problems of mid-water trawling                                        426
27.6   Progress of trawling in the future?                                   428

28 Seining in fresh and sea water                                            431
28.1   Simple seining gear and ‘baby’ seine nets                             434
28.2   Seine nets in freshwater fisheries                                     434
28.3   Seining below ice                                                     437
28.4   Beach seining                                                         439
28.5   Boat seining in sea fisheries                                          441
28.6   Modernization of seine net fishing                                     444

29 Fish shoals and surrounding nets                                          449
29.1   Lampara-like surrounding nets                                         450
29.2   Purse seines                                                          454
29.3   One-boat and two-boat seining                                         456
29.4   Variations of lampara nets and purse seines                           461
29.5   Porpoises and tuna purse seining                                      462
29.6   Mechanization and improvement of purse seining                        463

30 Fishing systems and harvesting machines                                   473
30.1   Pump fishing                                                           474
30.2   Hydraulic dredges with pumps and/or conveyors                         476
30.3   Harvesting machines for aquatic weeds                                 479
30.4   Fishing systems in the future                                         480

31 Fishery and gear research                                                 483
31.1 General aspects of fishing gear research                                 483
31.2 Optimization of function                                                483
31.3 Optimization of operation                                               489

32 Fishing effects on fish stocks, other marine animals and the environment   493
32.1 Size selectivity                                                        494
32.2 Species selectivity                                                     499
32.3 Environmental impact                                                    502

Appendix Classification of catching methods                                   507
A.1 Principles of classification                                              507
A.2 Main groups of catching methods                                          508
A.3 Revised classification                                                    509
                            Contents    ix

Subject index                          516

Species and product index              522
               Preface to the Fourth Edition

Even at the beginning of the new millennium there            been omitted. The reader will find some aspects of
are an almost unlimited number of new ideas, tools           this chapter in ‘Fishery and Gear Research’ and in
and techniques for harvesting fish and other aquatic          some other chapters. The position of the chapter on
organisms. However this is not only due to the               the art of net-making has also been changed.
development of technical equipment (new materials,              In preparing the fourth edition, some improve-
mechanized fishing techniques, modern fish detec-              ments have been made. Photographs of low quality
tion equipment). Declining stocks, enormous quan-            have been replaced, new photographs added, and
tities of by-catch and discard, and the negative             the list of literature reorganized according to the
environmental impact of towed fishing gear provide            Harvard system. The classification of fishing gear
the impetus to concentrate on finding a more respon-          has been adapted to the FAO system.
sible and sustainable basis for commercial fisheries.            For the revision of the main work of A. von
   Therefore the special aim of the fourth edition of        Brandt, a number of colleagues all over the world
Fish Catching Methods of the World is not only to            were asked to support the team of revising authors
present the technical developments since the third           in providing information and solving particular
edition of 1984 but also to highlight the problems           problems. In addition, commercial fishermen were
of fish stocks and the connected marine environ-              contacted to complete some aspects of the practi-
ment and to illustrate some possible solutions to            cal fishing described in the book.
these problems.                                                 Important contributions were received from: Dr
   The increasing importance of research and devel-          A. Berg, Langenargen, Germany; G. Brothers,
opment is considered in two new chapters at the              St John’s, Canada; E. Erkamo, Helsinki, Finland;
end of the book, as are the technical measures               Professor L. Karlsen, Trondheim, Norway; Profes-
needed for the protection of fish stocks and the              sor P. Suuronen, Helsinki, Finland; Professor Dr A.
marine environment.                                          Tokazc, Izmir, Turkey.
   The team of revising authors responsible for the             Mrs H. Müller from the Federal Research Centre
fourth edition – the late Dr O. Gabriel, Dipl.-Ing.          of Fisheries, Hamburg, helped to complete
K. Lange. Dr E. Dahm, and Dipl.-Biol. J. Wendt –             and verify the list of literature citations; Mrs
all work in the field of fisheries research and are            B. Büttner and Mrs M. von Klinkowström pro-
familiar with all the aspects of fishing described in         cessed the electronically stored pictures and the
this book.                                                   late Mrs I. Brandt undertook the text processing.
   It was the intention of the team not to change the        Some new figures were prepared by Mr H.-J.
basic concept of the book but to modify it only              Kuhlmann.
slightly with respect to the latest developments                The revising authors thank them all.
in fishing techniques where these seemed to be                   Last but not least, the team of revising authors
useful. Adapted to the modern classification of               thanks the publishers for their constructive co-
fishing gear, the arrangement of chapters following           operation during the preparation of the fourth
Chapter 13 up to Chapter 30 has been revised. This           edition of this book.
also corresponds more closely to the relative
importance of different fishing techniques. The                                  On behalf of the revising team
chapter ‘Gods, Fishing and the Captain’s Nose’ has                                        Hamburg, Germany

              Catching Methods in Fisheries:
                     an Introduction

Fishing is a form of primary production. Older than         fishing methods in sea and fresh waters, but so too
agriculture, the history of fishing, including that of       are other animals such as sponges, coelenterates,
catching methods, is as old as humankind. It may be         molluscs, crustaceans, insects, amphibians, reptiles,
that fishing was already practised by pre-hominids           birds and mammals. Even frogs, crocodiles and
before the advent of Homo sapiens. Their remains            snakes are often considered as ‘fish’ in the laws of
have been excavated, together with the prehistoric          different countries though they are not fish from the
bones of fish and pebbles that have been shaped in           zoological point of view. In the following chapters of
a simple manner, in Olduvai Gorge in northern               this book, the term ‘fish’ may include many other
Tanzania. These pebbles may have been used for              products of the water. Not all of them are used for
killing fish; they may have been the fishing gear of          food, fodder or fertilizers. Some of these products
the predecessors of modern humans.                          are needed to obtain raw materials for different
   In prehistoric times, and sometimes even today,          purposes, including those which provide pharma-
fishing is nothing more than gathering, one of the           ceutical and cosmetic products. Others are sought
simplest forms of economy. Every object is taken            for decoration only, such as the vertebrae of fish,
that can be used in any way. It matters not whether         shells of mussels, corals or pearls and, as in the past,
it is taken from the water or gathered from the dry         shells are collected by children as toys (Kristjánsson
land.                                                       1980). Fish skin can be made into clothes, as well as
   When undisturbed and in natural balance, the             being used as membranes for drums (Thiel 1977),
waters of the world provide a rich choice of suit-          and even as armour with the help of the scales and
able materials, mostly of vegetable or animal origin.       spines. There are many other ways in which humans
Fish may be the most important product of fresh             have used the products of fresh and sea water for
and sea waters, but there may be some doubt that            making tools, for building houses and boats, and for
humans were always able to catch them in prehis-            meeting their everyday needs.
toric times. In general they are too fast-moving to           To obtain all these desirable products from fresh
catch by hand. It is more likely that prehistoric           water and the sea, humans originally had to rely
humans had to look for plants and their products,           solely on their hands, occasionally also using
such as the seeds of water nuts or reeds rich in            their feet and teeth. It is understandable that these
starch, or for sessile and slow-moving animals like         methods soon became inadequate for their growing
molluscs, worms, coelenterates and crustaceans.             needs. Simple tools were invented to improve the
   A great number of algae and other water plants           catching ability of humans. Some of these tools
are, or have been, harvested for human food and for         became so efficient that they are still used today.
animal fodder as well as for fertilizer and for the         They were the basis of better gear, but thousands
extraction of various chemicals. Today fish provide          of years passed before specific fishing gear was
a high percentage of the animal albumen so                  developed.
necessary for the whole of humankind. Not only                The purpose of this book is to offer a review of
are fishes and water plants the subject of modern            fishing methods from all over the world. The basic

2                                    Fish Catching Methods of the World

concepts of how a fish – in the broadest sense – can       large-scale fishery. Therefore, all fishing methods
be caught are discussed. It may seem impossible to        are considered of equal value in one fishery or
review all the fishing gear operated anywhere in the       another. Before discussing the different fishing
world, in use either now or in the past (much of          methods and their catching principles, some general
which is now only found in museums), but when dif-        remarks are necessary about fishing, and these are
ferent types of gear are compared, surprisingly the       given in the following sections of this chapter.
catching methods are limited to a relatively small
number of basic techniques, as will be explained in
the following chapters. There are only a few ways
                                                          1.1 Fisherman and hunter
in which a fish can be caught; probably only a dozen       For gathering, no specific fishing gear is needed, and
and a half or even fewer. The basic ideas of how a        even today the simple tools used for gathering
fish or other prey can be caught are used for the          seafood cannot be considered as genuine fishing
classification of all fishing methods, given at the end     gear (Chapter 2).This can also be said for the begin-
of this book. A careful reader, comparing earlier         nings of another old form of collecting economy –
editions of this book with this one, will find that        namely hunting.
some revisions in the classification of gear have             Fishing and hunting can be traced to the same
been made. Though the principles of classifying           origin. Even today it is difficult to explain why
catching methods in general have remained                 harpooning a tunny is fishing and harpooning a
unchanged for 30 years, this edition follows their        swimming deer, often with exactly the same gear,
development as documented in Nédélec & Prado              is hunting, or to decide if catching waterborne but
(1990).                                                   land-living crabs is fishing or hunting. Originally,
   Fishing gear belongs to the material culture of        hunting and fishing may have been one, using
most peoples, and fishing is a living occupation.          similar methods. There have always been inter-
Those who claim that fishermen are conserva-               changing techniques between them as between the
tive people who do not change their fishing gear           catcher of animals on land or of fish from the water.
for generations should visit any modern fishing            Often it is not possible to distinguish whether a
harbour. They will be surprised to find how much           spear has been designed and used for fishing,
fishing gear has been changed or varied to increase        hunting, fighting, or only as a symbol for ceremo-
efficiency or to improve handling, although the            nial purposes.
principles of the fishing methods may not have been           Many methods of catching are known in both
altered. For this reason, little information about the    fishing and hunting, such as spearing, harpooning
detailed construction of fishing gear is given in this     and shooting (Chapter 6); catching with hooks
book. The book may continue to be in demand               (Chapter 8); trapping with different types of
for many years, during which time fishing gear             mechanical (Chapter 18) or non-mechanical traps
will undergo many alterations. Thus, this book will       (Chapters 15 and 16). Some hunting is even done
explain the principles of catching only, and how          with the help of netting, which is so important for
they have come about. Other books on the con-             most fishing methods. According to drawings in
struction of fishing gear, its material and its size are   Egyptian tombs, the use of netting is older in
available (e.g. FAO Gear Catalogues: Schärfe 1972,        hunting than it is in fishing!
1978; Nédélec 1975).                                         It is quite futile to discuss whether hunting is
   Some fishing methods may be more economically           older than fishing or fishing older than hunting. The
sound than others under special conditions, and           opinion is sometimes expressed that fishing must be
these are therefore described in more detail. Nev-        younger because it is easier to catch an animal on
ertheless, there is no wish to make any distinction       land than to win a fish from the sea. This is not con-
between ‘important’ and ‘unimportant’ fishing gear.        vincing. In primary and primitive lands there are
This can change very quickly, and for many reasons.       many inundated parts in the interior and on the
Even a fishing method such as trawling can lose its        edges of the sea that would facilitate fishery rather
‘importance’ as a result of an increase in the price      than hamper it. Accordingly, there are some who
of oil! For a small-scale fisherman, simple gear can       strongly hold the contrary opinion; namely, that
be more important than the sophisticated gear of a        fishing is of older origin than the hunting of terres-
                                Catching Methods in Fisheries; an Introduction                               3

trial animals because only simple tools are neces-         branches of fishery should be to replace hunting by
sary for its practice. According to these opinions,        the management of controlled stocks in natural
hunting requires the use of much better gear;              waters and in artificial ones. We are still far from
indeed, of equipment which sometimes resembles             this objective even though there are stock assess-
the weapons of war. Therefore it is understandable         ments and calculations about the quantities which
that some authorities consider hunting and making          could be harvested. Recent failures in fishery man-
war as different forms of ‘violent occupation of           agement raise doubts as to whether it will ever be
living creatures’ (Kuznetzow 1971) in contrast to          possible to manage fish populations in the oceans
the supposedly peaceful occupation of fishing.              in the same way that cattle are herded on land.
   In another view, hunters – through the use of              Because the hunter and fisherman in ancient
their weapons – tend to become experienced                 times only had primitive gear, some modern fisher-
warriors, while the fishermen, having less need of          men seem surprised to learn that it was possible for
aggressive action in their pursuits, would fall into       them to achieve any worthwhile result. But the
second place. As a consequence of this reasoning,          ancient hunters and fishermen (and also some of
the practice of fishing in some parts of the world is       the small-scale fishermen today) have, in compari-
carried out by people of a socially lower standing.        son with modern people in industrial fisheries, a
   But although their beginnings were undoubtedly          striking superiority that comes from their funda-
essentially the same, hunting and fishing have              mental understanding of the behaviour of their
developed down the centuries on very different             prey. With this knowledge they are able to outwit
lines. The prestige attached to ‘royal’ huntsmen can       the fish and catch it even with their simple gear.
be contrasted with the lowlier plight and status of        In highly developed industrial fisheries with many
the ‘poor’ fisherman. According to the traditional          sophisticated machines to operate fishing gear
view, a huntsman (today sometimes replaced by a            nearly automatically, and with electronic equip-
cowboy or trapper) is considered to live a free and        ment for searching and finding the prey, very often
untroubled life, and the man who practises the royal       the knowledge of fish behaviour has fallen into
sport of hunting, even if he lives in a log house,         oblivion.
cannot be deemed to be poor. But the fisherman is
always considered ‘poor’: the adjective clings to him
as does blue to the sky and green to the meadow.
                                                           1.2 From subsistence fishing to
Nevertheless, it seems that there is one exception
                                                           commercial fisheries
to this generalization, and that is the sport fisher-       We do not know how long it was before a human
man, who is usually considered to have the status          made a gear which no longer proved as effective in
of a hunter.                                               hunting but was much more efficient than any other
   Interestingly, modern fishing with sophisticated         gear for fishing. This may have been the beginning
methods is considered as a form of hunting by the          of a clear division between hunter and fisher.At this
fishery industry itself. In this case, hunting is seen in   stage of development, fishing with more or less spe-
contrast to stock breeding. The hunter is looking for      cialized gear was pursued by humans to provide
single fish or small groups of wild animals – not           food for their own needs and those of their family,
tamed or domesticated, not controlled in their life        community or tribe. Only single fish were caught,
history, nor influenced in their behaviour or pro-          maybe one large one and a few small ones. Today
perties, and which may be living over a wide area.         this would be a form of subsistence fishery – a
The stock breeder manages more or less domesti-            small-scale fishery for which only simple gear is
cated groups of well-known and numbered animals,           needed. As already noted, the knowledge of the
bred according to some concept to get special              fisherman about the behaviour of his prey was a
bodily properties, and kept together in a more or          major factor in his success. Spearing, and trapping
less artificial limited area. These differences can be      with plaited fences and baskets, may have been the
compared with fishing for wild fish populations in           most important methods during this time. The art
open fresh and sea waters on the one hand, and             of net-making (Chapter 13) was not developed
with fish culturing in artificial ponds or controlled        before the late Stone Age, and because it was diffi-
waters on the other. Some think that the aim of all        cult to get the right material for net-making, the
4                                    Fish Catching Methods of the World

first fishing gear made of netting rather than             anization was introduced into fisheries. Deep-water
crudely woven strips of wood was probably very           fishing also extended to large lakes; so there is ref-
small.                                                   erence to, for instance, a ‘deep-sea fishery’ on Lake
   Originally humans were interested only in catch-      Constance even today, in contrast to the beach
ing sufficient fish for their daily needs, and we know     fishery. The same thing happened on the sea coasts.
from some north European hunters and fishermen            Here the development from the shallow-water
that nothing was allowed to be wasted by catching        fishery to the deep-sea fishery is still going on,
more than was necessary. At some point, however,         which means not only fishing over deep water but
it became possible to barter fish for other things,       also fishing at great depth. This brought new devel-
and so it became desirable to catch more – espe-         opments in bulk fisheries with beamtrawls and later
cially when it was found that fish could be pre-          large otterboard bottom trawls for demersal prey
served and stored by drying, smoking, salting or by      (Chapters 25 and 26); purse seines to catch large
some simple processes of fermentation. This gave a       quantities of pelagic prey in the upper range of the
strong impetus for more fishing, and for better           waters (Chapter 29), and mid-water trawls to fish in
fishing gear to facilitate the development of a per-      the area where neither purse seines nor bottom
manent artisan fishery. To catch more fish required        trawls could be operated (Chapter 27).
not only more time, but also a larger quantity of           Both small-scale artisan and large-scale indus-
fishing gear – more pots, more traps, or more lines       trial fisheries have an important place in the nutri-
with more hooks. Not only was the amount of gear         tion of people today and in the future; the one by
operated increased, but its efficiency and size was       its flexibility, even when sometimes only small
also improved to catch bigger quantities of fish.         quantities of fish (but higher quality) are landed,
Fishing for single fish or for small quantities, as       and the other by its large quantities of often
in subsistence fishing, was replaced by an artisan        cheaper products, which are needed to satisfy large
commercial fishery sometimes related to special           markets and to serve the needs of the fish process-
markets. This gave new impetus to the improve-           ing industry, including the production of fish meal
ment of fishing methods.                                  for cattle food. Both needs can give impetus to the
   The artisan fishery, mostly no longer in the old       development and improvement of fishing gear and
traditional form, has its importance even today in       fishing methods as can be seen in the following
modern society. The trade in fish became increas-         chapters.
ingly important and this gave rise to the develop-
ment of large-scale fisheries based on bulk fishing.
                                                         1.3 Sport fishing and
In the Middle Ages in Europe, the first large-scale
fisheries were already established to supply the
                                                         commercial fisheries
markets with salted cod, salted herring and whale        From the viewpoint of catching, sport fishing can be
oil. These were also the first of the distant fisheries,   considered a form of small-scale fishery designed
fishing off shallow-water coasts, often of other con-     not to make a living from the catch, but to con-
tinents. For their management, large quantities of       centrate skill for fun and pleasure (Chapter 10).
gear as well as the material for making them were        Both the commercial fisherman, setting lines with
now needed by specialists. Lines and hooks had to        hundreds of hooks or operating a handline with
be produced for line fishing for cod; large quanti-       only a few in the hope of getting a good catch, the
ties of netting were needed for making driftnets         sport fisherman waiting for a strong fighting game
(Chapter 19) for herring; and spears and harpoons        fish with his simple or sophisticated (sometimes
had to be mass-produced for whaling.                     also expensive) tackle, are the descendants of the
   With the increasing demand, especially in indus-      prehistoric hunter.
trial areas, there came also another trend – the            Originally, fishing with hook and line was the
need for the large-scale fishery to abandon shallow       method used by everyone. With the increasing priv-
waters and penetrate greater depths to find larger        ileges of the landowners, it became the sport of the
supplies of fish. Greater depth also meant bigger         rich well into the last century, but has now com-
and heavier gear and greater manpower for its han-       pletely changed from a derided hobby to an impor-
dling. Nevertheless, it was a long time before mech-     tant form of human recreation. As already
                                Catching Methods in Fisheries; an Introduction                                  5

mentioned, sport fishermen were considered as               passive gear in such a manner that the prey will
hunters, living in supposedly unrestrained freedom         accept the gear and not be frightened by its con-
like one of the last links between humans and              struction, colour, visibility, smell or anything else.
nature. There are few ideas that have changed so           Knowledge of fish behaviour will help to make the
completely in so short a time as those held by the         most effective gear. The success of active gear, such
public in regard to sport fishing! Therefore it is          as dredges, trawls and cast nets, and also spears, har-
regrettable that in the modern life of many coun-          poons and some gear used for drive-in fisheries
tries, especially the highly developed industrial          (Chapter 21), depends more or less upon a human’s
ones, the art and practice of fishing has been              skill or perseverance. The fisherman can influence
divided into two ostensibly diverse and even               the success of active fishing gear by leading the gear
adverse fields – sport fishing and commercial                into the path of the fish, or by driving the fish into
fishing. It must not be forgotten that both have the        it by various methods. To influence the success of
same origin, and from the viewpoint of fishing tech-        passive gear is much more difficult, because not all
niques, they represent only two variations of the          stimuli affecting the behaviour of fish or other prey
same principle of catching fish with hook and line.         near fishing gear are known. It must also be con-
Now it seems that there will be some change. Both          sidered that the fish behaviour can change with age,
sport and commercial fisheries are concerned to             or with the season, or maybe also by learning. Pol-
preserve nature against the worst influences of             lution can also influence fish behaviour as can be
civilization. Moreover, fishing waters cannot be            demonstrated with electrical fishing (Chapter 5).
managed solely with the methods of sport fishing.              Grouping gear into passive and active has
Other more effective methods, as operated in com-          nothing to do with the basic principles of catching.
mercial fisheries, must support the aim of managing         Examples of both types of fishing gear are present
fishing waters in a biological equilibrium. Sport fish-      in many groups of fishing methods. In addition,
ermen and commercial fishermen have to work                 sometimes not only the size but also the towing
together not only to preserve, but also to defend,         speed is critical to the efficiency of active gear.
nature. Each simply represents a different variation       Increases in size and speed need more power for
of a fishing method. Thus, sport fishing is considered       operating gear and this was often not available in
in a special chapter (Chapter 10) in this book, but        early fisheries. Therefore, in ancient times passive
it is given neither more nor less importance than          gear was probably operated more often than active
any other fishing method.                                   gear. Finally, it has to be stressed that active and
                                                           passive fishing gear must not be confused with
                                                           moving and stationary gear. A stationary set line
1.4 Active and passive fishing gear                         and a towed troll line are both passive gear –
As mentioned before, there are relatively few basic        passive fishing methods with hooks – which have to
principles which can be used to catch fish, in spite        be accepted by the fish. On the other hand, a
of the enormous variety of fishing gear operated in         ripping hook moved up and down is usually an
the world. In the classification at the end of this         active fishing gear, with more or less random catch-
book there are only 16 different groups of fishing          ing (in this case by fouling the fish) by a special
principles, and maybe even some of these could be          form of line fishing with hooks.
grouped together for simplicity. Sometimes the
same gear can be used for two or even more fishing
methods with virtually no alteration in construc-
                                                           1.5 Basic ideas for fishing methods:
tion, but simply a change in the method of
                                                           their distribution and
operation.                                                 possible improvement
   In this classification no account is taken of the        At first glance a great many different types of
fact that sometimes, in fishing laws, gear is grouped       fishing gear seem to have been developed in fish-
into ‘active’ and ‘passive’ equipment. For passive         eries. The history of their creation, growth and dis-
gear, the fish has to come voluntarily, e.g. traps, gill-   tribution is still rather obscure. But when the fishing
nets and also some types of fishing hooks. There-           gear of various nations is compared, it becomes
fore much experience is needed to construct a              evident that fishing techniques have developed
6                                    Fish Catching Methods of the World

from only a few basic ideas for capturing fish, either    the east coast of South Taiwan, know how to make
singly or in mass, for the benefit of humans. Most of     netting from hard laid polypropylene. Knowledge
these basic ideas for the manner of capturing fish        of the importance of new fishing methods, or of new
are spread over the world and have become the            net materials, spreads quickly, and their develop-
common possession of mankind.                            ment and testing will be carried out simultaneously
   Ethnologists have discovered a striking similar-      in many parts of the world. Overall, as well as the
ity in the fishing methods of traditional, sometimes      duplication or multiple invention of fishing tech-
called primitive, fisheries. This cannot be explained     niques, the often uncontrollable communication of
by cultural exchange but rather by the like reaction     fishing techniques from one country to another fre-
of humans to similar problems.This is not surprising     quently occurs. This is the simple phenomenon of
for, from time immemorial, fishing has presented          ‘borrowed culture’.
similar problems again and again; and everywhere            In each fishing area, the known fishing methods
those problems have been solved by humans in the         have been improved and altered, sometimes by a
same or similar ways, just as an animal reacts in an     single fisherman, according to local needs. Begin-
experimental situation in rather the same way no         ning with simple methods and primitive gear,
matter whether the test is performed in Tokyo or in      the more complicated techniques soon begin to
Hamburg. Nevertheless, there may have been a             emerge. This development has been hastened and
more direct exchange of knowledge about fishing           improved by various stimuli. Periods of explosive
gear in the past, not only between neighbouring          development have been followed by more stagnant
areas but also between continents, especially in sea     times, and this is so even today. Some of the
fisheries, in spite of all contradictory discussions in   impulses encouraging gear development have
this respect.                                            already been mentioned, such as the endeavour to
   Occasionally, the spread of a fishing method or a      catch fish in larger quantities, or in deeper waters
fishing gear is well known, especially when this has      where more fish can be expected. In both cases,
come about in modern times. A good example is the        alterations in the construction of fishing gear are
design of the so-called ‘Madeira trap’, made in a        needed. Another stimulant for developing fishing
typical form and manner (Figure 16.38) which can         methods and gear is the desire to progress from the
be traced from India via the Seychelles, Zanzibar        original guarded or watched fishing gear needing
Island, Madagascar, and Madeira to as far west as        many helping hands, to automatic unguarded gear
the Caribbean Sea. There is also good reason for         that can be operated by limited manpower. To do
supposing that the ancient oceanic fishermen with         this, the gear must be designed in such a way
their gear and vessels reached out on the one side       that no special guard or watchman is required to
to Madagascar and as far as South America on the         observe when fish enter the gear and to close it in
other side. The ice-fishing methods of the Arctic are     time to prevent the fish from escaping. Moreover, a
well known through all the polar regions. Cover          watchman controlling the quantity of the catch in a
pots (Chapter 22), well known in Asia as well as         gear can work only during daytime and when the
in Africa, were also found by the explorers of           water is clear (Figures 15.20 and 15.25), which
America. Therefore, it is possible that there were       reduces the amount of time the gear can be
better contacts in the past than are accepted today.     operated.
   Nowadays, of course, the exchange of knowledge           More suitable, and independent of daytime, is
about fishing methods scarcely meets any difficul-         another method for the control of the catch in a
ties. International fishing areas, and worldwide          gear by attaching to the gear so-called ‘feeler lines’
organizations like FAO, facilitate very close con-       held in the hand of the watching fisherman (Figure
tacts. The Republic of South Africa has adopted          24.37). Such lines have been used not only in fresh
purse seining from California, and in the eastern        waters but also in sea waters with the aim of detect-
Baltic, large pound nets of Japanese design have         ing fish entering the gear so it can be closed and
been used. Isolated fishing tribes of the south-west      hauled at the right time. To save time, some gear has
coast of Madagascar now make their netting of            been adapted to register the catch automatically,
polyamide monofilaments, and a Stone Age tribe on         warning the fisherman to come and secure the
the forgotten island of Lan Yü (Botel Tobago), off       catch. Bells fixed to the gear announce the catch, as
                              Catching Methods in Fisheries; an Introduction                                 7

the Chinese have done and as some sport fishermen       the children; for tending the garden; for the home
also do today (Figure 9.16). Of course such alarm      and similar things. The man is considered responsi-
devices help, and in some large Japanese pound         ble for hunting; defending his family, his tribe or his
nets, sonar buoys have been placed to allow remote     living area; and for many types of hard work like
control of the catch. On the other hand, it may be     grubbing, house building (sometimes), and other
better to construct the gear in such a manner that     work which needs more physical power. An analo-
the fish can be held alive by the gear for some time    gous development can be seen in the operation of
so that they can be taken at any convenient time       the different fishing methods. Gathering is done by
later. Especially in trapping (Chapter 16), auto-      women only (Chapter 2) in so far as this method
matic catching gears were devised like mechanical      of collecting is not combined with diving, but
traps (Chapter 18) – known also from hunting – and     even here some exceptions are known (Chapter 3).
traps with non-return devices (Chapter 16), which      Fishing by stupefying, in the original form of poi-
proved so effective that they have been used not       soning, shows no strong separation, although today
only for traps but also for other gear.                electrical fishing is in general done by men only
   This gives a hint of another interesting develop-   (Chapter 5). In line fishing (Chapters 8 and 9),
ment in fishing gear. Apart from the principles of      small-scale methods with a limited number of
catching, a limited number of single elements in the   hooks can be used by women and men, but large-
physical construction of fishing gear crop up in        scale fishing, e.g. with longlines, is typically a fishing
many different fishing methods. The use of a non-       method for men only. This cannot be said of trap-
return device such as the funnel is one of these       ping (Chapters 14, 15 and 16) where small traps are
single elements that can be found in many types of     also set mainly by men. In fishing with bagnets
fishing gear.                                           (Chapter 24), the small hand-operated gear is often
                                                       used by women, while the operation of large-scale
                                                       bagnets is a job for men. Fishing with dragged
1.6 Division of labour and                             gear (Chapters 25–27), seine nets (Chapter 28),
collective fishing                                      surrounding gear (Chapter 29) and generally also
Some fishing methods need little manpower and           drive-in nets (Chapter 21) are fishing methods for
can be operated by a child; in others even the power   men. With liftnets (Chapter 23), we again see that
of a strong man is not sufficient. This is why very     hand-operated smaller gear can be also used by
often, in traditional fisheries, a clear division of    women while large ones are operated by men only.
labour on a sexual basis can be found. There are       Falling gear (Chapter 22), such as cover pots, are
some fishing methods considered suitable for            operated by men as well as women, but cast nets
women (and children) while others are reserved for     are operated by men only. Fishing with gillnets
men only. This sex-based division of labour may be     (Chapter 19), entangling nets (Chapter 20), and
as old as mankind. In general, the more exhausting     especially fishing with modern computerized sys-
work needing more physical strength is done by         tems or with harvesting machines (Chapter 30),
men only; other work, requiring less bodily            seems to remain for men only, even when the phys-
strength, is within the range of women. This has       ical power needed is very low. The conclusion can
nothing to do with the quality of the status of        be that not many fishing methods are suitable for
women and men. This separation is based on the         women. They operate small gear in most cases, but
physical differences between men and women –           there are no statistics available about the quantities
often forgotten today with an increasing misunder-     of food taken by fishing women to feed their fami-
standing of man and nature. This old knowledge         lies day-by-day all over the world, especially for the
about the need to separate duties between men and      people of Africa and Asia. Some people think that
women to overcome the physical demands of life is      the quantity taken by women in this manner is not
considered as one of the earliest recognitions of      much less than that which the commercial fisher-
mankind (Koenig 1975).                                 men land with their heavy gear all over the world.
   In general, women are responsible for the col-         When, in contrast to men, the work of women is
lecting of food such as vegetables or small animals;   considered on an individual basis (Nachtigall 1966),
for food preparation; for bringing up and rearing      it can be seen that very often the women do not fish
8                                    Fish Catching Methods of the World

Figure 1.1 Collective fishing by women and children with cover pots and scoop nets in Mali (1962). (Photo: FAO,
P. Pittet.)

alone, but in a group like a loose collective, each      tion and maintenance of the gear, especially in
woman with her own gear (Figures 1.1 and 22.3).          trawling (Chapters 26 and 27), seining (Chapter 28)
This is done not just to chat during fishing but to       and purse seining (Chapter 29). As in hunting,
secure a better catch by driving the fish together,       sometimes dozens of fishermen had to work
and to prevent their escape when only a single gear      together to get and to secure the catch. It seems that
is operated. It is also used to stupefy the fishes to     the voluntary alliance of men, even when for a
some extent (Chapter 5) as when many persons             limited time only to do common work, is elemen-
disturb the mud by trampling.                            tary to the behaviour of humans (Koenig 1975).
   Fishing in a collective with a single large gear is   Such voluntary collectives that are not controlled
more typically the work of men. In fisheries, co-         by anyone outside the group, or by the state, survive
operation is very often needed for the construction      in some fisheries today. Often these communities
of gear, especially when larger ones are needed. It      are for large-scale trapping, such as on the Isle of
may be a large barrier made of heavy wood for            Rügen (Peesch 1961) or in the Mediterranean for
catching fish, or a large net with thousands of           large tuna traps. Even when two fishermen with
meshes. Co-operation is also needed for the opera-       their vessels work together, e.g. in pair trawling, this
                              Catching Methods in Fisheries; an Introduction                               9

can be considered as a survival of the old group       matic catching gear requiring nobody to be in atten-
hunting of ancient times. Often such co-operation      dance. It seems that since olden times fishermen
is necessary because even today, despite mecha-        considered physical manpower as unavoidable in
nization, many fishing methods cannot be carried        fishing. When larger catches were needed, and the
out by a single person. On the other hand, increas-    amount of gear was increased or enlarged, it meant
ing mechanization progressively reduces the num-       that more people had to co-operate. The problem
ber of people working in a collective.                 of reducing manpower with the help of machines in
   Increasing mechanization is also the reason         fisheries seems not to have been resolved before
why women can now become more engaged in               the 18th century, when capstans with a vertical axis
fish catching. Until recently, wives could help only    were introduced in the large-scale herring driftnet
by rowing and steering a small vessel while the        fishery. The Chinese may have known of mechani-
husband set the gear. Nowadays, women can also         cal help in fisheries long before. Manpower winches
work in large-scale fisheries when the physical work    with a horizontal axis came later, perhaps first in
is taken over by machines. It should not be forgot-    coastal fisheries for the operation of beach seines.
ten, however, that there are other sections of fish-    At the turn of the 20th century, fishing vessels
eries where for a long time women have had a           became motorized and the winches motor-driven,
dominating and sometimes commanding position,          which very much reduced manpower requirements
such as in marketing the fishery products. This is      in gear operation. Originally the idea was to ease
especially so in Africa.Women have also dominated      handling of the gear by winches, but with increas-
fish processing, not only in northern but also in       ing catch value and the rising cost of manpower,
many tropical countries. Only in a few cases are       powered machines also had to replace people
women engaged in net-making: often they are not        without decreasing the yield. In this development,
allowed to do so for religious reasons (Chapter 13).   motors replaced oars and sails, and power-driven
   Speaking of manpower and catching methods, a        winches reduced the number of crew while increas-
third group of people must be mentioned who,           ing profit and safety at the same time. The catch per
sometimes, can have a special position in fishing.      person, per vessel or per tonnage of a vessel was
These are the older men who can no longer partic-      increased rapidly and is still increasing. This devel-
ipate in the usual fishing methods, especially in sea   opment became very important in the increasing
fisheries. Sometimes they operate smaller gear, e.g.    mechanization of large-scale and small-scale fish-
spears, as in northern Europe up to the 1970s, with    eries.The modern operation of gear in trawling with
special permission because they are generally pro-     large stern trawlers; the handling of large purse
hibited. The most important contribution of the old    seines with power blocks on modern seiners; the
men of a fishing community may be net-making and        introduction of powered drums for netting and
mending. The very quick introduction of monofila-       lines, and reels for ropes for seining, are all exam-
ments for the making of gillnets in south and East     ples of successful methods not only to facilitate the
Asia may be because of the ability of the old fish-     work of many, but also to decrease manpower.
ermen in thousands of villages to knot more effec-        To reduce the number of crew by machines is
tive netting with the new material – even though       especially important in industrial countries with a
this material is stiff and not easily knotted.         lack of, or very expensive, manpower. Mechaniza-
                                                       tion is not so much of interest to developing coun-
                                                       tries, which try to keep as many people as possible
1.7 Manpower, mechanization                            in fisheries to give them labour and food, and also
and automation                                         not for industrial countries during periods of reces-
The wish to improve the efficiency of fishing gear       sion with high unemployment. In these cases the
stimulated the development of the known fishing         jobs may be more important than a fishing method
methods and, as far as possible, the effort to find     made labour-extensive by mechanization.
new fishing techniques. Many impulses pushed               The most recent tendency in gear development is
forward this tendency not only to catch more, but      to alter fishing methods so that they operate auto-
also to catch in deeper waters, and to replace         matically with little effort by humans. Especially
labour-intensive attended fishing gear with auto-       in the operation of handlines, the slogan became:
10                                   Fish Catching Methods of the World

‘push a button and let it fish’; computers are used        with properties in accordance with the needs of dif-
to make decisions to steer the gear. In the new           ferent fishing gear. There is no doubt that methods
systems, the overall operation of the gear is divided     like mid-water trawling would not have been pos-
into a number of different steps, and each step           sible without the introduction of finer and stronger
runs automatically. That does not mean robots are         synthetic twines, apart from the invention of echo
replacing fishermen; they help not only by doing the       sounders. Also, the improvement in purse seining
work, but also by ‘thinking’ more quickly than            was not possible without these new fibres, quite
humans. In any case, the fisherman has the final            apart from the introduction of the power block. A
decision! The transfer of such ideas to trawling          last example is the recent success of gillnetting,
occupied the minds of fishermen and fishing gear            which was not possible without the use of twines
technologists for a number of years following the         made of fibres with low visibility, or even those that
first publication of this book (Chapter 26) until it       are transparent, such as some monofilaments. This
became clear that the present fishing productivity         is now known more or less all over the world.
surpasses the presently available fishing possibili-          The improvements in the properties of the fibres
ties. In small-scale fisheries ‘harvesting machines’       and also by the mixture of different fibres used for
have been developed (Chapter 30), which can               netting yarns and ropes still offer reasons for sur-
provide a basis for computerization in the future as      prise such as, for example, the recent fantastic
has already been achieved with many agricultural          success of the gel-melted polyolefin fibres. This,
machines. For the time being, in most fisheries of         however, can only continue as long as the raw
the world, manpower, experience and knowledge of          materials for the new high-technology fibres are
fish behaviour are decisive in the construction and        affordable. The development of fishing methods,
successful operation of fishing gear.                      especially in sea fisheries, would not have been pos-
                                                          sible unless there had been a parallel development
                                                          of more and more specialized fishing vessels, from
1.8 Fishing technology                                    rafts and rowing boats to sailing vessels, to steam-
One and the same fishing gear can be used in               ers and motor vessels with increasing power,
several different ways. When the method of fishing         and eventually, perhaps, to vessels driven by atomic
is not known it is hopeless to try to decide if, for      power. Thus, parallel with the development of
example, a net is to be used for seining or dragging,     fishing techniques, the development of fishing craft
for drive-in fishery, or even for gilling or entangling.   is ongoing. This extends from the bamboo raft still
This is one of the reasons why the classification of       much used in Asia for short-term fishing, to the
fishing gear and methods given at the end of this          factory vessel operating with a catcher fleet or the
book is based not on the gear construction but on         self-catching factory ship capable of staying at sea
the principles of how the fishes or other prey are         in far distant fisheries for many months and pro-
caught. These principles of catching can be used in       cessing the catch immediately on board. The fishing
different ways and sometimes the gear operation is        vessel is therefore no longer an all-purpose vessel
supported by special fishing tactics, mostly based on      from which it was possible also to do some fishing,
methods of luring the prey, not so often on fright-       but a specialized vessel with many typical arrange-
ening them.                                               ments. Nowadays, in modern sea fisheries, the
   Gear construction, gear operation and fishing           fishing vessel and the fishing gear have become one
tactics are considered as parts of fishing technology      unit.
and so are considered together in this book. But             The development of fishing gear and fishing
fishing technology also includes the materials used        methods cannot be seen as an isolated process.
in gear construction and – as far as necessary – also     Success and progress in fisheries is based on the
the fishing vessels (Schärfe 1979). As regards net         harmony between humans, their surroundings and
materials, it seems that the problem of replacing         fish, all three influencing the construction and oper-
natural fibres by synthetic ones has been solved           ation of fishing gear and fishing vessels. In a situa-
with the introduction of netting twines, e.g.             tion where the exploitation of many fish stocks has
polyamides (PA), polyolefins such as, for example,         passed a critical threshold, progress cannot lie in an
polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP) and others          increasingly productive fishery. Responsibility for a
                                 Catching Methods in Fisheries; an Introduction                                      11

sustainable yield in a fishery where the collateral           Nédélec, C. (ed.) (1975) FAO Catalogue of Small Scale
damage to the ecosystem is reduced to a minimum                Fishing Gear. Food and Agriculture Organization,
must become the prime objective of fishermen and
                                                             Nédélec, C. & Prado, J. (1990) Definition and classifica-
fishing gear technologists.                                     tion of fishing gear categories. FAO Fisheries Technical
                                                               Paper 222 Rev. 1.
                                                             Peesch, R. (1961) Die Fischerkommünen auf Rügen und
References                                                     Hiddensee. Berlin.
                                                             Schärfe, J. (ed.) (1972) Catalogue of Fishing Gear Designs.
Koenig, O. (1975) Urmotiv Auge. Neuentdeckte                   Food and Agriculture Organization, Rome.
  Grundzüge menschlichen Verhaltens. Munich/Zurich.          Schärfe, J. (ed.) (1978) FAO Catalogue of Fishing Gear
Kristjánsson, L. (1980) Islenzkir Sjávarhaettir, Vol. 1.       Designs. Food and Agriculture Organization, Farnham.
  Reykjavik [in Icelandic].                                  Schärfe, J. (1979) Fishing technology for developing coun-
Kusnetzow, Y.A. (1971) The behaviour of fish in the zone        tries. Oceanus 22 (1), 54–59.
  affected by a curtain of air bubbles. In: Fish Behaviour   Thiel, J.F. (ed.) (1977) Haus (der) Völker und Kulturen,
  and Fishing Techniques (ed. A. P. Alekseev), 103–110.        Führer 1977: Afrika, Neuguinea, Christl. Kunst. St.
  Jerusalem.                                                   Augustin/Bonn.
Nachtigall, H. (1972) Völkerkunde, von Herodot bis Che
  Guevara. Naturvölker werden Entwicklungslaender.
                           Fishing by Gathering

Long before any fishing gear was invented, humans             does not aim to get foodstuff, but to collect nice-
used their hands along the shores of lakes, rivers           looking shells or corals for decoration, or to catch
and seas to capture fish and other aquatic animals;           living animals for the aquarium at home. The
to collect mussels or seaweed; and to harvest amber          animals are mostly tropical fish but also include
or minerals thrown up by tide and wind. In a word,           crustaceans and other animals of the lower orders.
they gathered everything useful to their needs, from         In some countries of southern Asia, beautiful little
the river banks and the beaches and from shallow             fish are collected for fighting contests for enter-
waters or flooded areas that were drying up. Some             tainment (Mohsin 1978). Many of these animals are
people think that gathering is the oldest and most           found in small pools and are caught in a simple
important human activity and one to which we owe             manner without any typical fishing gear. Another
our present existence (Bolloré 1960). This old form          reason for fishing by gathering is to collect ‘bait
of harvesting water products by walking along the            worms’, the more northern and less valuable sand-
dry beach looking for something that might be                worm, Nereis virens, and the more expensive south-
needed for food or as a working material, or wading          ern bloodworm, Glycera dibranchiata. It has been
for the same purpose in shallow waters, or diving in         calculated that, in the USA, bloodworms bring the
deeper ones, and doing this mostly without the help          highest price for weight of any fishing product!
of boats or rafts, without tools, and using only             Beside bait worms, other types of bait are also
the hands, has been known perhaps for millions of            sought for line fishing by commercial and sport fish-
years, from the time of prehistoric humans and their         ermen. Such simple collecting can form the basis
predecessors right up to the present day.                    of a profitable job in centres of sport fishing all over
  Today, gathering by hand is not only done in               the world, such as the trade in fish and other
countries with a low level of economy but also in            animals for aquariums which has big centres in
highly developed industrial countries, though some-          Hong Kong, Singapore, Djakarta, the Caribbean
times for different reasons. Also, modern people             and Manila. Unfortunately this form of fishing, like
gather foodstuffs by hand (Figure 2.1) or other              other forms, shows symptoms of ‘over-collecting’
apparently useful objects which can be brought               in some areas, especially on the sea coast (Joyner
home, not because of need but more for fun or for            1971). So far stocks of the interesting living
souvenirs. Today, at suitable places, holidaymakers          resources in shallow, coastal and fresh waters have
and hobby fishermen have replaced the hunters and             not yet been diminished by increasing pollution.
collectors of the past. Even today commercial fish-
ermen may continue to fish by simple collection,
especially in tropical countries.
                                                             2.1 Hand-picking
  In some areas the inducement to continue fishing            Gathering by hand can be considered the simplest
by simple gathering by hand, and with nearly no              form of fishing, surviving the centuries and modern
tools, was created by new ideas such as the so-called        developments. Of course, what can be picked up is
‘aesthetic’ fishery (Wood & Johannes 1975) which              limited to some objects only and to the zones within

                                             Fishing by Gathering                                             13

Figure 2.1 Sunday morning on the French Atlantic coast. Father and son digging for shells.

the manual reach of humans. The largest quantities        brown algae, principally kelp. Last, but not least,
collected are from animals that may be sessile or         seaweeds are also collected for agricultural fertil-
only slow moving. Therefore it is understandable          izer. Heavy gales at sea tear seaweed off the rocks
that mussels and snails, echinoderms and some             and, when it drifts ashore, people need only to
small crustaceans are the main animals caught by          collect it (Figure 2.2). At some places the seaweeds
hand-picking. Most fish, even when trapped in small        can be harvested very easily from the rocks during
pools, but in good physiological condition, are too       ebb tide or in shallow water and brought ashore
quick and sensitive to be caught by hand. So it is        (von Brandt 1956). In such places the Icelanders
known from former inhabitants of Tasmania that            brought or bring their sheep and horses to graze on
because of their inefficient fishing technique, their       algae (Kristjánsson 1980).
fishery concentrated on snails, mussels and crayfish.          The most interesting areas for hand-picking are
There were only a few scaled fish which the                those sea coasts that enjoy great differences in the
Tasmanians could get, maybe in the same manner            rise and fall of tides, and where wide muddy areas
(by bare hand) as their neighbours, the Maoris, in        are exposed twice a day. Here many species of shells
New Zealand are catching eels even today (Best            can be collected or dug by hand from the sand or
1977). Some fish may be grasped easily, as well as         mud. Sometimes narrow populated mussel beds are
frogs, small alligators, crocodiles, turtles and other    hidden in the ground. In contrast to muddy areas,
animals living in or near water. Fish roe is among        sandy beaches are of less interest. Nevertheless, it is
the objects easy to collect by hand. Alaska had an        known that on nearly all sandy beaches crabs can be
important ‘herring-roe-on-kelp’ fishery until the          dug out by hand during the daytime. Catching them
turn of the last century.                                 with bare hands when they run over the beach
   Objects that can be collected by hand also             during daytime or at night is difficult, but this is
include plants, especially seaweeds, many of them         possible with the slower-moving hermit crab. In
used for human consumption or as fodder for cattle,       general, sandy beaches from which, during low tide,
or for the extraction of other products such as           animals coming in with the flood can return un-
iodine, agar from red algae, and alginic acid from        hampered with the ebb tide are not considered
14                                   Fish Catching Methods of the World

                                                          without a boat and this can also be catching with
                                                          typical fishing gear, which will be shown later
                                                          (Sinsoilliez 1968, 1970). On the other hand, hand-
                                                          picking is also carried out from boats in the open
                                                          sea, e.g. for catching garfish. When taking turtles by
                                                          hand, care must be taken to avoid being bitten
                                                          (Chen 1976)! It is easier to catch small fishes by
                                                          hand. It has been suggested that survivors of a ship-
                                                          wreck on a raft or in a lifeboat can pick up such fish
                                                          which nibble the nails of their fingers (Robin 1977)!
                                                          According to the same author, sharks up to 1.50 m
                                                          long can be taken without difficulty by their dorsal
                                                          fins! To avoid being bitten, a piece of wood or a
Figure 2.2 The spear and rake came about to lengthen      rolled towel should be pushed into the mouth of the
the reach in retrieving fish or seaweed. These Breton
fishermen harvest seaweed for fertilizer with long-        shark. (Unfortunately, it is not stated which type of
handled rakes.                                            shark can be caught by hand picking!)
                                                             Gathering by hand can be found on all sea coasts
                                                          and also in freshwater areas. Here of particular
favourable for fishing by gathering by hand (Koll-         interest are flooded territories adjoining rivers
mannsperger 1972). Rocky coasts with many small           which regularly overflow after heavy rainfall. Like
pools, areas prolific in seaweed growth, or caverns        the sea, fresh waters offer many valuable products.
and cliffs favourable for the growth of aquatic           To ensure their usefulness even more, many little
plants and with hiding places for animals, are all        artificial pools are constructed in which the animals
ideal areas for gathering. Here, molluscs, mussels as     or products desired are left behind when the water
well as snails and sea urchins, are the main objects      falls. The water can be bailed out to gather the fish,
harvested by hand-picking (Figure 2.3). Moreover,         as is done even today in the small ponds which
various species of crustaceans, and even barnacles        remain when rice fields are drained to permit the
and fish, left behind in little pools or caverns, are      flowering and ripening of the paddy. Manual col-
secured when the water recedes. Mussels and snails        lecting is used where lagoons or annually flooded
are preferred, especially in low tide areas, because      lands dry out, as along the great rivers of Asia,
they move so slowly. Mussels are dug from the             Africa and tropical South America (Lagler 1968).
bottom, while snails are removed from the stones to       It has been said that the greatest of all tropical
which they adhere or are gathered from the ground.        inland fisheries is that where, at the time of the
   In France, with large areas of low tides off the       floods, many fishes are caught by hand. But this
Atlantic coast, a special term is used for this fishery:   fishery will be doomed in the future when the rivers
this is the ‘peche à pied’ (fishing by foot) which still   are restrained between embankments and the land
plays a great part, not only for the benefit and inter-    settled for intensive cultivation.
est of occasional visitors or poachers and beach-            Areas of hand-picking can also include all
combers, but also for meeting the practical needs of      shallow waters (Figure 2.4), and deeper ones as far
commercial fishermen (Renard 1955). The phrase             as the fishermen can wade in. In water that reaches
‘fishing by foot’ is not to be confused with ‘fishing       up to the chest or higher, the fisherman has to find
by horse’. That too is practised, for instance, where     his prey, e.g. clams, by feeling them with his feet. He
horses are used to frighten the fish by their move-        can lift them from the bottom with one foot or by
ments in the water, or to drag a fishing gear. The         raking them with a foot into a basket held on the
term ‘fishing by foot’ is really thought of as a con-      bottom (Figure 24.3). Sometimes the fisherman or
trast to ‘fishing from the boat’, which method is          woman dives briefly to pick up by hand what has
obviously a step up in activity in the eyes of the        been found with the feet. Of course, hand-picking
poor.A restriction has to be made nowadays:‘pêche         in deeper water without a boat is also possible by a
à pied’ no longer means only hand-picking or gath-        swimming and diving fisherman, as will be discussed
ering; nowadays it means any fishery operated              in Chapter 3.
                                               Fishing by Gathering                                            15

                                                            tival in the River Argungu (Nigeria), the contest
                                                            between fishermen includes not only the usual boat
                                                            racing but begins with fishing by hand.The first man
                                                            to catch a fish is the winner, thereby honouring one
                                                            of the oldest fishing methods.
                                                               Old European fishery books mention that this
                                                            method of grasping the fish is the simplest method
                                                            of fishing. But note this: a famous fish booklet of
                                                            Nuremberg, dated 1758, comments rather disdain-
                                                            fully: ‘. . . that is a fishery of the poor common folk
                                                            who sometimes wish to bring home a small meal’.
                                                            The simplicity of hand-picking has the disadvan-
Figure 2.3 Chinese women use simple implements to           tage that it is not only used all over the world but
gather shellfish. In the foreground is the typical collec-   very often not by regular, authorized fishermen, but
tor’s basket.                                               by big – and more often by smaller – poachers
                                                            or fish thieves. If a Chinese philosopher failed to
                                                            mention fishing as among those activities bestow-
   Hand-picking along the beach in sea water and            ing great happiness, it certainly means that he never
fresh water, in shallow water or by diving in deeper        roamed along brooks as a little boy tickling trout or
ones, is not only known all over the world today but        grasping crayfish with his hand. This practice is uni-
also since prehistoric times. The prehistoric impor-        versal; from Greenland, the Kuril Isles, and other
tance of such collecting activities is revealed by the      northern areas it is known that even salmon can be
monuments left behind in the form of so-called              caught by hand. ‘Tickling’ is the English expression
kitchen middens ‘kjökken möddinger’ found at                for this method of fishing. To do this, the fisherman
various points in Europe, East Asia, North Africa           (or boy) dips his arm quite slowly into the water
and both of the Americas. The heaps of garbage left         and tries very cautiously to approach a stationary
behind by the fishermen and huntsmen of that later           salmon or trout. When he succeeds in touching it he
mesolithic period are primarily composed of shells          moves his hand very carefully along the belly of the
of sea mussels gathered and eaten then. The huge            fish until he reaches the gills. Then, with thumb and
mounds of marine shells, sometimes up to 6 m thick,         middle finger grasping the gill openings, he endeav-
represent the accumulated food debris of centuries,         ours quickly to whisk it on to the bank. He does
of coastal fisher-collectors from c. 6000–7000 years         not always succeed. The bigger the fish, the more
ago (Cornwall 1968). But shell mounds have not              chance it has of freeing itself at the last moment by
only been found from prehistoric times. Hills up to         struggling and, not infrequently, the fisherman, in
120 m long and 8 m high made of shells have                 his excitement, finds himself in the water instead
been found near the old Phoenician town of Sidon            of seeing the salmon on land (Conrad 1905). The
(Kramer & Matschchoss 1963), but at this time the           Lengua Indians in the Gran Chaco guard against
shells were gathered not for food but to gain the           losing the fish by fixing a ribbon around the hand
desired purple colour to dye the clothes of the dig-        to which small vertebrae are fastened. This gives
nitaries of this period. Hills of shells can be seen        them a firm grip which prevents the fish from escap-
nowadays where large quantities of abalone are              ing (Krause 1904). Nowadays, gloves or a scouring
caught by modern diving food gatherers, such as in          clout are recommended when there is some chance
California or southern Africa. Not all abalone fish-         of catching fish by hand – especially conger!
ermen, however, are as lucky as those of New                   In general, hand-picking is a small-scale fishery,
Zealand, who collect a type of abalone with a won-          but it can become big business when precious prod-
derfully coloured shell that fetches a high price on        ucts are collected, such as pearls, mother-of-pearl
the world market.                                           or corals. Marco Polo mentioned some Arabian
   Hand-picking was formerly considered an impor-           islands where large quantities of ambergris had
tant method of catching fish and one demanding               been collected along the coastlines, and this valu-
great skill. During the famous Nigerian fishing fes-         able material must have also been collected by the
16                                   Fish Catching Methods of the World

Madagascans. Today there is big business in the          rights’ and could be important for surviving when,
field of fishing by gathering where the mass col-          in late winter, food supplies often ran low and
lection of seaweed or shell grit can be carried out      weather conditions made fishing impossible
from the shore. To do this economically, large-scale     (Kristjánsson 1980). Beside capelin and cod, other
enterprises are developed. Large harvesting              fish have also been mentioned as swimming ashore
machines dredge tons of seaweed or shell debris          – such as spiny dogfish (Squalus acanthias), saithe
from the low tide area or in shallow water, and so       (Pollachius virens) and even redfish (Sebastes
replace the human collector and his hand (see            marinus) and wolf-fish (Anarhichas lupus).
Chapter 30).                                                The Maoris of New Zealand use a form of artifi-
                                                         cial stranding of fish in which stones dam up
                                                         running water, which can then flow only in a trench
2.2 Stranded prey                                        excavated at the side. The fish are guided into the
Fishes or other water animals can become stranded        channel, and then the stone barrier is removed to
involuntarily on beaches. Small fish can be seen          re-route the water back along its former course and
jumping onto shore when frightened by predators,         the trench suddenly runs dry. The stranded fish
or flying fish, attracted and disorientated by light,      cannot escape and are gathered by hand (Best
landing on the deck of a vessel. Then even quick-        1977).
moving fishes are easily caught by hand. This can            Finally, whales can also be ‘gathered’ on the beach
happen even with large fishes such as salmon when         when involuntarily stranded in shallow waters or
they fail to jump over an obstacle during migration.     when driven inshore by humans, as formerly hap-
It has been said of old Indian fisheries in North         pened frequently on certain islands in the Pacific
America that some tribes simply collected salmon         and is still practised with pilot whales in the Faeroes
which failed to jump over obstacles and thus fell        (Figure 2.5). The use of stranded whales is consid-
on land or became stranded and exhausted after           ered as the first form of whaling. From time to time
spawning (Treide 1965). Sometimes large schools of       news goes around the world that schools of whales
small fishes are driven by predators into shallow         or dolphins run themselves aground as an easy prey
water and many are washed up on shore. The next          for humans. The reasons for this behaviour are not
wave may wash them back into the water if they           known. Nowadays, oil pollution is considered as a
are not taken by birds or humans. Here a strange         possible reason for the disorientation and stranding
fishery has to be mentioned although it is not
strictly involuntary stranding on the beach. This is
the fishery for grunion (Leuresthes tenuis) when,
during the night, this strange fish comes on to land
to spawn along the coast of California (Walker
1952; Idyll 1969). In this case, catching with bare
hands is the only method allowed by law. The use
of nets is illegal. Not only fish can be stranded: this
can happen also with swimming snails and squid. In
northern New England and eastern Canada strand-
ings of enormous quantities of living shortfin squid
(Illex illecebrosus) have been noticed (Lux et al.
1978). The causes of such mass strandings remain
unknown. This is also the case with the ocean
sunfish (Mola) and a few kinds of sea turtle which
can be easily caught by hand after stranding.
   Not so widely known is the fact that in Iceland
well-known food fish like capelin (Mallotus villo-
sus) and cod (Gadus morhua) can be washed up by          Figure 2.4 Women of the Zulu tribe collecting mussels
the sea. In the 12th century the harvesting of this      on the coast of KwaZulu Natal near Durban, South
                                                         Africa. (Photo: South African Panorama, 1979.)
‘drift food’ was combined with special ‘drift-fish
                                             Fishing by Gathering                                             17

of whales, but such events were already known to
Aristotle (394–322 BC) and, like him, modern scien-
tists can give no convincing answer for the stranding
of large schools of these sea mammals, though
people try to return them to the sea.

2.3 Catching by bailing out
Fully active fish are difficult to catch by hand even
in small water areas. An old method of overcoming
this difficulty is by bailing out the smaller pools
until the fish can be caught by hand in the remain-
ing water or until they strand themselves (White
1956; MacLaren 1958; Solymos 1976). This is a
simple fishing method without specific fishing gear.         Figure 2.5 Stranded pilot whales in the Faeroe Islands.
It is known all over the world, especially in Africa      (Photo: B. Ulrich.)
and southern Asia. Smaller fish can also be drawn
with the pot used for bailing. To get the fish, the
water will be filtered through a basket or netting            It must, however, be conceded that this collect-
worked like a strainer. Such simple filters are            ing fishery is not carried out only by hand. Special
also used when directing water in which fish are           auxiliary gear has been developed, usually quite
expected to be found from one field to another.This        individually, but is of such a general nature that it
also can be an effective fishing method without any        cannot be recognized exclusively as fishing gear. To
specific fishing gear.                                      facilitate the work with the hand when digging out
                                                          shells from the ground, or to loosen or cut some
                                                          sessile animals or plants from stones and rocks,
2.4 Implements for ‘gathering’
                                                          or for bailing out small pools, simple individual
in fisheries                                               selected tools can give some help (Fleury 1981).
As can be seen by the examples of gathering quoted        Shovels, spades, scratchers and hoes (Figures
earlier, until now no special fishing gear has been        2.7–2.9) are used for digging out mussels and also
needed. The main tool is the human hand. Every-           sand eels. These tools, well known to gardeners, are
thing that humans can reach by hand, and which            seldom made especially for this form of fishing. Sea-
they consider useful, can be taken. The term ‘fishing      weeds are gathered with rakes and forks. Knives,
by foot’ simply means not only fishing without a           and even screwdrivers, crowbars, chisels and
boat but often also without gear, as far as this gear     hammers or similar instruments are used to remove
is considered as typical for fisheries in general.         animals from the rocks. Tweezers, spoons and even
More important for success than the gear is the           sticks originally used for fruit picking can be seen
endurance and fitness of the collector. Of the             in this fishery. Hooks and pokers are needed to dis-
French ‘bassiers’ (which means those who fish              lodge octopi, crawfish and eel-like fish from their
during low water, or ‘basse mer’), it is said that the    hiding places (Figure 2.9). Pokers can also be con-
secret of their success lies in the way their legs have   sidered as small gaffs (Chapter 12). Some collectors
developed a resistance to cold, in their good eyes,       also use, with or without permission, real fishing
and in their quick perceptive senses. A symbol of         gear such as spears, percussion instruments, small
their collecting activity is the possession of a little   stow nets, scoop nets and pushnets, minute dip nets,
basket or a bag of netting for taking home the col-       and special lines with hooks, all of which are
lected products – and this is general the world over      described later.
and not only characteristic of the French Atlantic           Sometimes bleach, bluestone or salt are used to
coast (Figure 2.6). Interestingly, California imposes     drive octopi out of their holes, or shells such as
limits on the size of such bags to prevent overfish-       razor-shells out of, or off, the bottom mud (Nadaud
ing of the shellfish stocks.                               1979). In fishing by gathering, individuals have a
18                                       Fish Catching Methods of the World

Figure 2.6 Japanese women seeking shellfish from the            Figure 2.9 Note the hooks which French fishermen use
sandy shore use a small hand tool.                             for fetching octopi out of their holes.

Figure 2.7 Simple tools for gathering molluscs, espe-
cially abalone: (a) California; (b) South Africa; (c) Japan.

                                                               Figure 2.10 Washing baitworms out of the mud with the
                                                               help of an outboard motor fixed on a tripod or towed on
                                                               a sledge. (From Hutzfeld 1977 with permission.)

                                                               wide field in which to invent useful tools, and there
                                                               are very seldom regulations to control the quality
                                                               or quantity of the gear used by collectors.

                                                               2.5 Fishing with the feet
                                                               Some fish dig themselves not too deeply into the
                                                               bottom mud in shallow water. The ground is then
                                                               searched with the feet or hands to find the fish. On
                                                               the East Friesian (North Sea) coast, taking turbot
Figure 2.8 Long-handled tools to gather molluscs in            from the pools that remain as the tide ebbs was
deeper water: (a) Madagascar; (b) Japan; (c) USA; (d)          called ‘Buttpetten’ – treading or trampling to find
Japan; (e) Thailand.
                                                               flatfish such as flounder, plaice and turbot. When a
                                             Fishing by Gathering                                                19

fish is found, it is held firmly by the feet till it can    – initially by hand-operated implements such as
be grasped with the hand (Mitzka 1940). This              winches, and later by machine-driven ones. The last
method is known in many parts of the world; it has        stage is a fishing system automatically steered by
been used by the Indians of the Pacific coast of           computers that take over some human reasoning
America and in many Asian fisheries (Underhill             or, at least, make decisions more quickly and with
1944; Gudger 1951, 1952; Nishimura 1964). Aus-            more certainty.
tralian aborigines grope carefully along muddy               Hand-picking may be a long way from such ideas
shores and so secure with their feet a sort of catfish     because it is carried out by people who can be
to be found there. In modern Egypt it was common          likened to gardeners in comparison to farmers who
for a fisherman to try to feel with his naked feet the     have to cultivate large areas in an economical
spawning holes of breeding tilapia. When such star-       manner. But there is no doubt that hand-picking
shaped holes were found he grasped the female             can be replaced by mechanical methods. There are
with his hand (Elster 1959).                              a few examples where mechanization can support
   Fishing for sponges is now in the hands of divers      hand-picking (especially hand-digging for shells
with good diving equipment (Chapter 3). Neverthe-         and other bottom-hidden animals) by mechanically
less, it is known that the earliest and most primitive    washing out and collecting the creatures. This
method of collecting sponges, which has been prac-        simple method can also be used when collecting
tised in parts of Tunisia, is by wading in the shallows   bait worms (wanted by sport fishermen) with the
and collecting sponges with the toes (Firth 1969).        help of a small outboard motor (Figure 2.10). The
   The feet are also needed in another fish catching       propeller of the running motor stirs up the mud and
method. The true African lungfish (Protoptorus)            brings the worms to the surface where they can be
and the catfish (Clarias) burrow into the mud as the       collected by hand or in small scoop nets (Hutzfeld
waters dry up. Lungfish enclose themselves in a            1977). After World War II a similar method was
cocoon-like sheath made from the slime secreted           used in northern Germany for washing out clams
by their own bodies. Their position in the dried mud      with the help of the running motor of a cutter (Kühl
is located by stamping with the foot on the hard-         1950; NN 1948). Large quantities of clams can be
baked mud surfaces. When this is done in the right        washed out by this system; far more than could be
place, over a fish, a distinct rumble is heard as it       collected by hand or with scoop nets. Therefore,
wriggles and grunts at the disturbance. The fish thus      other ‘wash-out’ methods have been devised,
found is dug out by hand or with a hoe (Brelsfjord        combined with dredges and collecting bags, but
1946; Hickling 1961). Digging out fish in the dry          these are not gathering as discussed in this chapter,
season without specific gear is also known in south-       but a fishing method using dragged gear, which is
east Europe in the wide inundation area of the            considered later (Chapter 25).
Danube (Antipa 1916; Hochheimer 1954). Here
loaches also hide in the mud during the dry season        References
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                                                            Bucharest [in Rumanian].
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was the very beginning of the fishing activities of        von Brandt, A. (1956) Fischerei zu Fuss. Bilder aus der
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Elster, H.-J. (1959) Einige Beobachtungen über die            in fall 1976. Marine Fisheries Review 40 (1), 21–
  Binnenfischerei Ägyptens. Fischwirt 9, 345–356.              26.
Firth, F.E. (ed.) (1969) The Encyclopedia of Marine         MacLaren, P.J.R. (1958) The Fishing Devices of Central
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  éditions du pen-duick. Paris.                               Rhodesia.
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  Nature No. 3190.                                            Neumünster.
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  Asiatic countries. Journal of the Zoological Society of     of Malaysia. In: The Livestock Industry in Malaysia,
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Hochheimer, H. (1954) Die Geschichte der Grossen            Nadaud, J. (ed.) (1979) La pêche. Paris.
  Ströme. Köln.                                             Nishimura, A. (1964) Primitive fishing methods.
Hutzfeld, H.H. (1977) Wattwurmsuche mit Aussenbord-           Ryukyuan Culture and Society, 67–77.
  motor. Fisch und Fang 18 (10), 744.                       NN (1948) Die mechanische Gewinnung der
Idyll, C.P. (1969) Grunion, the fish that spawns on land.      Klaffmuschel. Die Fischwoche 3 (7/8), 53.
  National Geographic 135 (5), 714–723.                     Renard, M. (1955) La Pêche à Pied au Bord de la Mer.
Joyner, I. (1971) Resources exploitation – living. In:        Paris.
  Impingement of Man on the Oceans. Hood, D.W. (ed.),       Robin, B. (1977) Survive à la Dérive. Paris.
  529–551. New York.                                        Sinsoilliez, R. (1968) La Pêche à Pied, Coquillages et Crus-
Kollmannsperger, F. (1972) Die Seefischerei in der Mang-       tacés. Paris.
  garai, Westflores, Indonesia. (Unpublished report.)        Sinsoilliez, R. (1970) La Pêche à Pied, des Poissons de
Kramer, H. & Matschchoss, O. (1963) Farben in Kultur          Mer. Paris.
  und Leben. Stuttgart.                                     Solymos, E. (ed.) (1976) Studien zur Europäischen
Krause, E. (1904) Vorgeschichtliche Fischereigeräte und       Traditionellen Fischerei. Baja Dolgozatok 3. Baja.
  neuere Vergleichsstücke. Zeitschrift fuer Fischerei 11,   Treide, D. (1965) Die Organisierung des indianischen
  133–300.                                                    Lachsfanges im westlichen Nordamerika. Veroef-
Kristjánsson, L. (1980) Islenzkir Sjávarhaettir, Vol. 1.      fentlichungen des Museum für Völkerkunde zu Leipzig
  Reykjavik [in Icelandic].                                   14. Berlin.
Kühl, H. (1950) Studien über die Sandklaffmuschel Mya       Underhill, R. (1944) Indians of the Pacific Northwest.
  arenaria. Archiv fuer Fischereiwissenschaft 2, 25–39.       Washington.
Lagler, K.F. (1968) Capture, sampling and examination of    Walker, B.W. (1952) A guide to the Grunion. California
  fishes In: Methods of Assessment of Fish Production in       Fish and Game 38, 409–420.
  Fresh Waters. IBP Handbook 3 (ed. W. E. Ricker), 7–40     White, C.M.N.T. (1956) The role of hunting and fishing in
  (45). London.                                               Luvale society. African Study 15 (2), 75–86.
Lux, F.E., Uzmann, J.R. & Lind, H.F. (1978) Strandings      Wood, E.J.F. & Johannes, R.E. (1975) Tropical Marine
  of shortfin squid, Ilex illecebrosius, in New England        Pollution. Amsterdam.
                      Male and Female Divers

The ‘gathering activity’ of fishermen who work with           2. Finally, as a sad symbol of the post-war period,
almost no gear and without a boat is not restricted          fishermen (especially in the northern seas) have
to the beach or to shallow water. By adopting                made a good business from diving for submerged
the practice of diving, particularly in the warmer           ammunition and scrap. Even earlier, fishermen
regions of the world, they have been able to pene-           dived in the harbour of Mindelo (Cape Verde
trate into deeper water to gather and grasp what             Islands) to collect coal fallen overboard from the
they cannot secure from the shore. Long before the           old steamers which bunkered there before leaving
currently popular sport of scuba diving began, there         for South America.
existed underwater hunting wherein men moved, as
one says today, ‘as fish among the fishes’.
                                                             3.1 Divers catching fish and supporting
   Even today divers are active in carrying out, by
simple diving, a number of important fisheries.
                                                             fishing operations
Diving for pearl oysters in Japan, Indonesia,                Divers can, under some circumstances, also catch
Australia, Sri Lanka and south India is famous               fish (Figure 3.1). Of course it is much more difficult
and important, but fishing for sponges by divers in           to catch very quick ones in their own surroundings
the Mediterranean and Caribbean Sea is also well             than those hampered by physiological unfitness
known. Diving for corals is also famous: the red one         when spawning, or weakened by sickness or
of the Mediterranean, the black one of the Red Sea           exhausted by migrating. It is reported that the
and the Pacific Ocean (Hawaii), and last but not              Indians of the north-west California coast, while
least the red and white ones of the Pescadores               operating as divers, sometimes grasped sturgeons
Islands in the Formosa Strait. Corals can be taken           weakened by spawning and guided them to the
by divers without, or more thoroughly with, com-             bank (Kroeber & Barrett 1960). Catching carp by
plicated equipment without destroying coral stocks,          hand is sometimes referred to in old Japanese doc-
which may happen when entangling gear is used                uments (Nishimura 1971). In the Japanese book
(Figures 20.2 and 20.3).                                     Chat about the Southern Islands published nearly
   Other marine products are also harvested by               150 years ago, it was mentioned that around the
divers working in many areas of the tropical and             Ryukyu Islands some sea fish were caught by divers
sub-tropical seas. These products may be mussels,            with the left hand whilst swimming with the other
abalone or clams, not to forget also giant clams and         (Nishimura 1968). A strange story in this connec-
pearl oysters, sponges for human and technical uses,         tion is also told from Easter Island. In the olden
octopi, sea urchins and sea cucumbers (‘trepang’ or          times there were so many fish in this area that
‘bêche-de-mer’), several types of crustaceans (espe-         swimmers could squash them between their legs.
cially lobsters and spiny lobsters) and turtles. Also        Even today a special place in these islands is called
gathered are edible seaweeds found in shallow                ‘Fish-catching-with-thighs’ (Felbermayer 1971).
waters, and others used for a variety of industrial             In addition to ‘dive fishing’ for molluscs, corals,
and agricultural purposes as mentioned in Chapter            sponges and other sea creatures, the co-operation

22                                  Fish Catching Methods of the World

                                                           Diving fishermen can also examine artificial fish
                                                        shelters and stationary gear. It has been reported
                                                        from the fisheries in central and southern Africa
                                                        that sometimes, when seining, a man dives to find
                                                        out if there are enough fish in the gear and if the
                                                        time is right for hauling. This may be the most reli-
                                                        able method of determining the quantity of the
                                                        catch, which is also urgently needed in the modern
                                                        large-scale fisheries of industrial countries
                                                        (MacLaren 1958). Indonesian fishermen are known
                                                        to dive to inspect their gigantic weirs. In northern
                                                        Europe some fishermen operating large pound nets
                                                        in the western Baltic are trained to dive to inspect
                                                        the best working of their gear. In modern fisheries,
                                                        the help of divers is often needed for clearing
                                                        netting from propellers, for retrieving lost fishing
                                                        gear, and for making minor hull repairs from below
                                                        the water level (Hardy 1981). Moreover, one deci-
                                                        sive reason for the co-operation with divers in fish-
                                                        eries is because in some tropical countries, before
                                                        the gear is set, they dive to listen to determine
                                                        whether there are suitable fish in the neighbour-
                                                        hood. In Thailand, purse seiners are sometimes
                                                        accompanied by a diver specializing in fish location
                                                        by underwater listening. Listening for fish by divers
                                                        is also known in Malaysia in the seine-net fishery.
                                                        A small sampan with low sides is used on which the
                                                        swimming fisherman can hold fast. From time to
Figure 3.1 Diving to catch fish is an old-established    time he dives his head underwater to look for fish
technique as shown by this woodprint from the famous    but also to find them by listening. Experts affirm
early Japanese sketchbook, Manga, by Hokusai, pictur-   that they can determine by the noises caused by
ing divers at work.                                     some fish not only the type of fish, but also their
                                                        location and the size of a school. It has been
of divers can be helpful in other fisheries. There are   declared that up to six types of fish can be distin-
many fishing methods in use, particularly in tropi-      guished by their different noises. According to
cal areas, in which divers or swimming fishermen         Malaysian fishermen, fish noises vary when they are
help to operate fishing gear. They can set and haul      swimming near the water surface or on the bottom.
fishing gear such as pots for rock lobsters in India
and other places with small fisheries, where even a
simple boat may be too expensive and the gear is
                                                        3.2 Diving equipment
operated only by divers. Divers can also drive fish      Divers have been working since olden times com-
into a gear, remove them from a net, frighten them      pletely without any auxiliary means for prolonging
from the bottom to the surface (Koch 1965) or           their stay under water. Naked diving is still under-
collect stupefied fish from the bottom. Divers can        taken all over the world today, even though the
also direct fishing gear to the right place, such as     famous divers of the Arabian Gulf have exchanged
plummets for sea cucumbers (Figure 6.13), or place      their hard and dangerous job for the more attractive
handlines before fish as is done in Japan. When          living of oil exploitation. Formerly pearl diving was
operating some types of drive-in gear in tropical       carried out from dhows, 20 m long, and with a crew
waters (Figure 21.3) the co-operation of large          of up to 30. Two men, a diver and a hauler, worked
groups of swimming divers may be necessary.             in teams. The diver descended on a weighted line,
                                            Male and Female Divers                                            23

                                                          became popular with sponge and abalone fisher-
                                                          men both in the Far East and in the New World.
                                                          Such diving apparatus is not new, but it was a long
                                                          time before it was introduced into fisheries. Among
                                                          others, Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519) made a
                                                          sketch of a diving suit for an Indian pearl diver
                                                          (about 1488–1497). The suit was made of water-
                                                          proofed leather. To protect the diver against attack
                                                          by fishes, especially sharks, or other animals, the suit
                                                          was designed to have long spines. The tube for
                                                          breathing, reaching to the water surface, was stiff-
                                                          ened with rings of metal to resist the compression
                                                          of the water. The diver had diving spectacles with
                                                          magnifying glasses (Feldhaus 1970). Leonardo’s
                                                          proposal for a diving suit was not realized until
                                                          the 19th century. The equipment is known as a
                                                          ‘scaphander’ and is used today especially for tech-
                                                          nical work under water. The helmet is replaced by
                                                          a mask for breathing connected to a hose up to
Figure 3.2 Diver of the Taiwanese island Lan Yü, for-     100 m long. Owing to the similarity of this equip-
merly called Botel Tobago, with hand-made wooden-         ment with the Turkish water-pipe it is also called a
framed diving goggles (1969).
                                                          ‘hookah’ in some fisheries.
                                                             At first, only hand pumps were used to supply air
the end wound round his foot. Experienced divers          to the diver (Figure 3.3). Power compressors began
could plunge up to 15 m. Some divers stayed down          to replace hand pumps in c. 1913. After World War
for 4 min though some for only 1.5 min. For hauling,      I, high-capacity compressors were introduced (Firth
the diver tugged on the rope and the hauler pulled        1969). These improvements provided greater secu-
him up. Some divers dived about 40 times a day            rity for the divers, and their working time under
(Frazer 1969). The only external aid in the past has      water was prolonged.A diver can work under water
been that of diving spectacles, but these have been       for varying times depending on the depth of the
in use only in comparatively recent times – in Japan      water and his physical condition. As an example, on
since the beginning of the 20th century. They are,        average a British diver-fisherman spends 1.5 h a day
however, very desirable and the fishermen on even          on the bottom to collect 350 scallops (Hardy 1981).
remote islands manufacture their own divers’ spec-        In Korea, divers can work for as long as 25–30 min
tacles (with wooden frames) if they can obtain plain      at depths of 30 m. Generally they work 8 h a day,
glass (Figure 3.2). This is necessary because it is not   making 8 to 10 dives. Nowadays the safety of diving
possible for the human eye to see clearly under           with air hose has been increased by winding a tele-
water without divers’ spectacles.                         phone cable around the hose so that the diver can
   Nose clips made of horn, as used by the Arabian        be in permanent speaking contact with his vessel.
divers of India, or any protection for the ears, such        From available data it seems that diving dress in
as modern water-pressure regulation balloons com-         the Mediterranean has been in use in the sponge
bined with mask and glass window, were unknown            fishery since 1860. In 1874 it was introduced into the
to early diving fishermen and this remains so today        USA (Firth 1969), and since 1879 in the Swedish
in many parts of the world, particularly in south         fishery (for oysters) off the western coast (von
Asia where most divers have no equipment other            Yhlen 1881). In Central America, diving suits have
than diving spectacles.                                   been in use since the beginning of last century, espe-
   An important development in diving was the             cially in the sponge fishery off Florida in the Gulf
introduction of a diving suit equipped with helmet        of Mexico (Stelzner 1943). Diving for abalone off
and hose connected to a pump for respiration.             California was established by Japanese divers
Installed aboard small open boats, this equipment         when it became unlawful to fish for abalone in the
24                                   Fish Catching Methods of the World

Figure 3.3 Korean diver with diving suit and an air supply provided by a hand pump. South Korean coast (1972).

shallow intertidal zone (1900). Before this law,          it is known that Australian aborigines used long
abalone had been gathered by Chinese fishermen             pieces of hollow reed as a means of approaching
with the help of hooked poles – without diving.           wildfowl under water (Hardy 1981). Today,
Japanese divers introduced diving suits to gather         migrating Greek sponge divers use simple snorkels
abalone in deeper water. The diving suit with its         for searching, as well as breathing tubes with old
hose connection in modern form avoids many                compressors, but also with transportable modern
dangers which threaten the naked skin diver. On           scuba equipment with oxygen breathing. Skin
the other hand, the disadvantages of this method          divers can be seen as well as divers with helmets
are that the boat has to be anchored and that the         and air tubes. Often they have only a mask with a
diver’s range is limited by the length of the air hose.   large glass visor and a connection tube to the air
Moreover, when more than one diver is working             compressor.
from the same vessel their air lines can entangle            Divers working as skin divers or in suits from
with each other (Hardy 1981). Therefore the               boats usually now have a double rope connection
increased mobility gained ensured that when, after        with the boat. One rope is loaded with a weight by
World War II, independent, autonomous, diving             means of which the diver can descend by himself
equipment such as scuba (Self-Contained Under-            without any effort. The other rope serves as a signal
water Breathing Apparatus) was developed, it was          line. The weighted line (usually attached to a stone
immediately widely used – not only for submarine          or a heavy lead) is also useful for anchoring the
sport fishing but also for commercial fishing by            boat. Moreover, this line provides a permanent con-
professional fishermen.                                    nection to the boat so that the diver can easily find
   Autonomous deep-diving systems reduce costs            it or, by giving a signal on the second line slung
considerably, and increase productivity. On the           round his body, he can be hauled up by means of a
other hand, scuba diving needs expensive equip-           winch on the boat. This help is especially neces-
ment, which is why older methods with suits are still     sary for divers working in suits with rubber tube
practised alongside modern scuba diving. Simple           connections. By this means of facilitating his
snorkels are also widely used around the world and        descent and ascent the diver is able to stay under
                                           Male and Female Divers                                           25

water for a longer period. Nevertheless, the under-
sea activities of divers in diving suits are mostly
limited to 60 m with only 30 min of useful work. A
scuba diver may dive 50 m and even more, but once
he dives >10 m he already needs one or more
pauses of 5 min each for decompression during
   Before about 1917, divers in heavy diving suits
with breathing tubes walked along the seabed
looking for shells, etc. Later the method of ‘working
to windward’ was used. In this method the diver is
towed, by his vessel, a few feet from the bottom,
while the vessel drifts at low speed, maybe under
sail. When the diver sights the wanted shells he
signals the surface and is lowered to collect them.
Where the water was warmer the diver did not use
a full diving suit but often the helmet or the corse-
let only.
   Generally speaking, diving is daytime work, but
                                                         Figure 3.4 Indonesian scuba divers in Flores, Lesser
in Italy commercial divers catch big fish during the      Sunda Islands. (Photo: Kollmannsperger, 1975.)
night by shooting with the aid of underwater lamps.
Fish, as well as crustaceans and octopi, are worried
by the light and mesmerized. The use of lights by
divers is forbidden in some countries. Sometimes
diving, at least free diving, is completely forbidden,
                                                         3.3 Female divers
or the length of the surface-connected hoses can         Diving is mostly done by men, but there are famous
have a legal minimum length to protect some stocks       female divers, particularly those of Japan, – the
against overgathering, especially by sport divers        so-called ‘ama’ (sea-women; Bartz 1959). They also
(Felbermayer 1971). In some countries, particular        operate in Korea and this probably arises from the
types of diving are restricted or forbidden, as in       Japanese influence. Korean female divers operate
New Zealand and Australia where compressed air           especially from the Isle of Cheju, situated off the
diving for crawfish is banned.                            south coast. They collect mainly abalone, trepang,
   The problem of how to protect the diver against       seaweed and molluscs as well as fish. The ama dive
attack, especially by sharks (considered earlier by      without any special equipment in shallow water
Leonardo da Vinci) is still of topical interest.         (5–10 m) and only for short times of 50–90 s. Like
Australian divers operate from self-propelled shark      sports swimmers they dive into the water head first,
cages; those in South Africa wear rugby boots to         in contrast to the Arabian and Sri Lankan pearl
kick away sharks if they are disturbed while under       divers who dive feet first (Bartz 1974).
water! Accidents caused by sharks, even in shallow          In the Japanese fishery women are obviously
waters, can lead to them being chased furiously,         more suited to diving than men because they have
whether the species is dangerous or not, especially      a better fat layer which insulates their bodies. It
off the Australian coast. On the other hand,             is quite understandable that economic conditions
commercial divers are blamed for the decreasing          make it necessary for the women to undertake this
numbers of shark populations, while abalone divers       diving for food because the men are frequently
are blamed for the recent decline in the catch of        absent from their villages for a long time while
abalone because they fear attacks by sharks. There       fishing for tuna.The fact that, for practical purposes,
are, however, more accidents resulting from the          only women undertake diving has led the not very
failure to observe the time needed for decompres-        prudish Japanese to invent stories of explanation
sion in coming up from a dive of >10 m than that         that would not be appreciated by the puritanical
caused by shark attacks.                                 inhabitants of the western world (Hornell 1950)!
26                                  Fish Catching Methods of the World

On the other hand, fishermen diving off the
Mauretanian coast use leather trousers for protec-
tion against curious small sharks! Kuwait pearl
divers use three-quarter length black trousers, pos-
sibly for the same reason.
   When they are diving, Japanese women divers
work either independently (‘kachido’) or mother
and daughters work from a boat with a male assis-
tant, who is usually the husband. The Japanese call
this group of sea women ‘funando’ (Clark 1971).
But even the independent women divers seldom
fish alone, but prefer to operate in groups. In Korea
there are usually ten female divers working
together. Company is essential in the submarine
world in order to have a feeling of safety. Sport
divers customarily are not allowed to dive alone. If
there is some fellowship or company, they can help
each other. In tropical areas some dangerous
marine organisms can cause many difficulties. Even
small organisms, which are poisonous and ven-
omous to humans (such as some nice-looking cone         Figure 3.5 Small tools used by Korean women divers:
shells) can cause accidents or even death. In these     spear for fishes, hook for shells, tool for loosening
cases, divers working in groups can give that timely    abalone, and hook for octopus. (Courtesy of Mr Lee,
                                                        Chang Ki.)
help which may avert disaster.
   Regarding the sea women ‘ama’, it is said that
their knowledge of the diving techniques is handed
down from mother to daughter. Thus diver families
                                                        3.4 Tools and collecting bags
and whole settlements are to be found who fish           Like the collectors on the beach or in shallow
together. This highly desirable and necessary co-       water, divers originally had no specific gear to
operation has led to the development of profes-         scrape together shells, to loosen sessile animals, or
sional castes or caste-professions – depending on       to cut seaweed. Kuwaiti divers collecting pearl
whether the profession has caused the group to          oysters used leather thimbles for finger protection
combine with a caste or whether membership of a         only. They needed no other tools for hand-picking.
caste has led to the adoption of the profession of      Nevertheless, some types of more or less specialized
diving (Westphal-Hellbusch 1960). There are some        gear have been introduced in other types of diving
suggestions that women divers also work in other        according to whatever is to be collected. A knife, a
parts of the world, e.g. in the Torres Strait between   hook, tweezers or similar tools suffice to remove
Australia and New Guinea (Marshall 1904). In            mussels or sponges or to draw crayfish out of their
Taiwan, women divers often work in shallow waters       holes. Figure 3.5 shows some of the tools used by
where diving is needed to pick up by hand what has      Korean women divers to loosen shells, to catch
been touched by foot as mentioned before. In            octopi and to fish them. There are also more spe-
Tasmania, the women of the extinct aborigines           cialized tools, e.g. sickles for seaweed, hook-like
were said to have been strong swimmers and excel-       implements to loosen sponges (Figure 3.6), iron
lent divers, who procured most of their food (like      bars to prize off abalone fixed to rocks, and small
shellfish and crayfish) by diving in rocky areas. On      hooks to draw animals out of their hiding places, as
the Island of Santa Cruz (in the eastern corner         well as short hand-held rakes for dislodging sea
of Melanesia) women started diving equipped with        urchins from the substrate.
rubber catapults (Figure 6.23) for underwater har-         As with the collectors of the beach, some divers
pooning in the second half of the 20th century          like to use genuine fishing gear such as snares and
(Koch 1971).                                            also fishing spears and harpoons to catch fish. Even
                                            Male and Female Divers                                           27

                                                          Figure 3.8 The equipment of a Korean female diver
                                                          near Pusan consists of a collecting bag with float,
                                                          goggles and a sickle-shaped knife.
Figure 3.6 Tools for divers: left, for loosening shells
(Japan); right, for loosening sponges (Greece); (1977).
                                                          Nyassa cyprinids are caught by two divers towing a
                                                          small bagnet of mosquito netting between them.
                                                          The bag is held open by a spreading stake at either
                                                          side of the opening and is folded up at the end of
                                                          the dive (MacLaren 1958). When rising out of the
                                                          depths, African divers are told to retain the catch
                                                          with their teeth. Usually, however, like the collec-
                                                          tors on the beach, they have bagnets fastened to
                                                          their bodies or to a float or a barrel which rests
                                                          nearby on the surface of the water. The bagnet can
                                                          be held open like a scoop net by a wooden ring; or,
                                                          as can be seen in Figure 3.8, the bags are closable
                                                          and have a small hole to put the prey through into
                                                          the bag. There may also be a container, usually a
                                                          wooden tub floating on the surface. The diver keeps
                                                          contact with the floating tub by a rope so that he
                                                          can find it easily to deposit his catch. The container
                                                          also serves as a raft when he wants to rest. Formerly,
                                                          the unprotected diver had to come to the surface at
                                                          short intervals to breathe, and also to put the catch
                                                          in the container or in the accompanying vessel.
                                                          Modern divers using diving suits with a piped air
                                                          supply are able stay longer under water with less
                                                          frequent visits to the surface. They may also carry
                                                          a basket or net bag for their catch, which is hauled
Figure 3.7 Diver of Manila Bay with a hand-made
harpoon and collecting bag (1960).                        to the surface by their assistants. Thus very
                                                          effective harvesting systems have replaced the old
                                                          forms of collecting foodstuff and other material
in some remote areas, submarine harpoons with             under water. Australian divers have used plastic
elastic triggers, as originally invented by sports        bags inflated from the diver’s air supply to lift the
divers, can be found in use (Figure 3.7). Sometimes       full net to the surface (NN 1972). When harvesting
gear made of netting is operated by divers. In Lake       seaweed, Japanese divers tie 10–20 pieces of
28                                  Fish Catching Methods of the World

seaweed together by a rope. When the stems are cut
off, signals are sent and the seaweed is pulled up by
the fishermen on the accompanying vessel. Other
products, such as sea urchins, are harvested in a
similar way in California (Kato 1970).

3.5 Technological progress in diving
Progress in diving for fishing purposes is linked with
the development of diving techniques, especially
diving suits and breathing devices. But there is also
a desire to improve the tools used, especially for
collecting shells. Biologists claim that the usual
clam forks and hoes used yield only c. 60% of the
marketable-sized clams of the dug-over soil, but kill
almost half of all the clams left behind (Dickie &
McPhail 1957). This has led to investigations into
how to increase the harvests of shells collected by
shore gatherers in tidal areas or by divers. One idea
is to use water nozzles attached to a water hose that
has a pump on board the vessel attending the            Figure 3.9 Operating principle of a Venturi dredge.
divers. These washout nozzles are helpful in digging
out the larger clams which are usually deeply
buried in the substrate. The diver grasps the clam
siphon with one hand and washes the material away
from the animal with the nozzle until it is free.
Another idea is to use a hand-operated venturi
dredge. This is a sucking device working on the
same principle as some vacuum pumps. An engine
in the supporting vessel pumps water under high
pressure through a water jet, which creates a
sucking action in a connected flexible pipe (Figure
3.9). By this means, material, including clams, can
be sucked off the bottom into a screen mesh con-
tainer for separating and cleaning. The same system
is also used for large harvesting machines which are
discussed in Chapter 30.
   Quite another problem of diving is the descent
into deep water. It has been mentioned that divers
with air-breathing apparatus can dive to depths of
60 or 70 m. This depth is considered to be a dan-
gerous limit. At greater depths the diver can suffer
intoxication sickness which can cause loss of con-
sciousness. But corals, especially the more precious
types, grow in deeper waters in the Pacific. Coral
divers try to descend to 90 or even 100 m. With a
mixture of oxygen and helium, divers can reach
depths of >100 m, and even 200 m is possible. But
these depths invite accidents and it seems wiser to     Figure 3.10 Small submarine for coral fishing in
                                                        Formosa Strait.
operate with small submarines in coral fishing at
                                            Male and Female Divers                                               29

Figure 3.11 Modern deep-sea submersible operated in the coral fishery of Hawaii, transported on a special vehicle
towed behind the mother ship. To launch the submersible, the transporter is sunk to about 18 m, where the sub-
mersible is launched under its own power. The procedure is reversed for recovery. (Courtesy of Maui Divers of Hawaii
Ltd, 1979.)

those depths (Figure 3.10). These can be small              harvest red and white corals off the western coast
vessels 7 m long with two or even three operators.          of Taiwan. Nevertheless, the experiments in the
The boat is driven by batteries and can work at             Pescadores Islands (Penghu) in the Formosa Strait
depths of up to 200 or 250 m. To cut off and collect        have shown that a strong current can hamper nav-
corals, the submarine has a special mechanical grab         igation of this type of diving vehicle, so that har-
arm (manipulator) with a striking mechanism to              vesting corals is nearly impossible. Navigation of
remove the precious ‘loot’. The corals are collected        the diving vehicles from the shore with the help of
in a bag of netting fixed to the outside of the sub-         TV, as proposed recently by the Japanese, will not
marine. Such submarines built for coral fishing may          help to solve the problem.
be less dangerous than diving with the usual equip-            Before finishing this chapter about diving it
ment, especially with mixed gases. Moreover, such           should be mentioned that in some countries non-
vehicles can dive to greater depths. Large ones can         commercial and commercial fishermen are antago-
dive to 550 or 600 m with an inside pressure of 1           nistic towards each other. This is because some
atmosphere. Submersibles, mostly for two people             irresponsible amateurs, such as hobby fishermen,
and with a ‘launch–recovery–transport vehicle’, are         scoop up everything in sight including shellfish and
operated in the fishery for black corals off Hawaii          fish at weekends, sell their harvest indiscriminately
(Figure 3.11) (Grigg 1979). Experiments have also           to the detriment of full-time fishermen, and then
been made with a small type of submersible to               return to their main jobs during the week. Discus-
30                                     Fish Catching Methods of the World

sions are ongoing on to see how the interests of full-       Kato, S. (1970) Catching squid by the ton with pumps. Nat.
time fishermen can be safeguarded. This discussion              Fish. June.
                                                             Koch, G. (1965) Materielle Kultur der Gilbert-Inseln.
also includes the problem of how to protect fishing
                                                               Veroeffentlichungen des Museums für Völkerkunde
gear against curious hobby divers, who can cause               Berlin NF 6.
considerable damage in addition to the loss of               Koch, G. (1971) Die materielle Kultur der Santa
catches.                                                       Cruz-Inseln. Veroeffentlichungen des Museums für
                                                               Völkerkunde, Berlin NF 21.
                                                             Kollmannsperger, F. (1975) Die Seefischerei in der
References                                                     Manggarai, Westflores, Indonesia. (Unpublished
Bartz, F. (1959) Bevölkerungsgruppen mit besonderer          Kroeber, A.L. & Barrett, S.A. (1960) Fishing among the
  gesellschaftlicher Stellung unter den Küstenbewoh-           Indians of north-western California. Anthropological
  nern und Fischern des Fernen Ostens. Erdkunde.               Records 21, 1.
  Archiv für Wissenschaft Geographie XIII Slg. 4.            MacLaren, P.J.R. (1958) The Fishing Devices of Central
Bartz, F. (1964–74) Die Grossen Fischräume der Welt, Vols      and Southern Africa. Occasional Papers of the
  I–III. Wiesbaden.                                            Rhodes–Livingstone Museum. Livingstone, Northern
Clark, G. (1971) The Stone Age Hunters. Library of Early       Rhodesia.
  Civilisation. London.                                      Marshall, W. (1904) Die Erforschung des Meeres. In:
Dickie, L.M. & McPhail, J.S. (1957) An experimental            Weltall und Menschheit, Vol. IV (ed. H. Kramer),
  mechanical shellfish digger. Progress report and reports      245–382.
  of the Atlantic coast stations. Fisheries Research Board   Nishimura, A. (1968) Living Fossils of Oldest Fishing
  of Canada No. 66, 3–8.                                       Gear in Japan. Vlllth International Congress of Anthro-
Felbermayer, F. (1971) Sagen und Überlieferungen der           pological and Ethnological Sciences. Tokyo and
  Osterinsel. Nürnberg.                                        Kyoto.
Feldhaus, F.M. (1970) Die Technik Lexikon der Vorzeit der    Nishimura, A. (1971) Ishihiki, the oldest fishing gear, its
  Geschichtlichen Zeit und der Naturvölker. Munich.            morphology and function. Studia Ethnographica and
Firth, F.E. (ed.) (1969) The Encyclopedia of Marine            folkloristica in Honorem Béla Gunda, 619–629.
  Resources. New York.                                       NN (1972) Diving for abalone in Australia. Fisheries News
Frazer, J.E. (1969) Kuwait. National Geographic 135 (5),       International 11 (4), 39.
  336–365.                                                   Stelzner, H. (1943) Tauchertechnik. Lübeck.
Grigg, R.W. (1979) Precious corals. Hawaii’s deep-sea        Westphal-Hellbusch, S. (1960) Berufs-Kasten im Irak.
  jewels. National Geographic 155 (5), 719–132.                Umschau 60 (24), 755–758.
Hardy, D. (1981) Scallops and the Diver Fisherman.           von Yhlen, G. (1881) Die Seefischerei an der Westküste
  Fishing News Books, Farnham.                                 Schwedens. Internationale Fischereiausstellung Berlin
Hornell, J.S. (1950) Fishing in Many Waters. Cambridge.        1880. Amtliche Berichte. Berlin.
              Animals as a Help in Fisheries

Humans very soon learned to capture animals, to               work in large flocks, such as cormorants, pelicans,
tame them and to use them for their own purposes.             darters and snakebirds. Reptiles and amphibians
But the capacity and inherent ability to do this              also fish, such as many water snakes, older croco-
varied greatly between different tribes and nations.          diles, turtles and frogs, not forgetting the many
The ability of the Hindus, for example, to tame and           predatory fishes which catch others, or cannibalis-
handle animals is to be noted. They succeeded in              tic older fish which feed on the young of their own
taming young wild elephants much earlier than did             species. To complete the list, even some spiders and
the peoples of Africa. The African elephant is                insects catch small fish, sometimes by quite compli-
considered more difficult to tame (Zeuner 1967),               cated methods. There are a great number of fish-
but nevertheless they became famous in the armies             catching and fish-eating animals all over the world,
of North African potentates and even crossed the              but most of them are considered by humans to
Alps with Hannibal’s army.                                    be competitors and predators. Only a few can be
   There is a distinction between tamed and trained           tamed and trained for direct fishing, although
wild animals, and animals that are definitely domes-           others can help indirectly in fisheries. Nevertheless,
ticated. The first are to be seen in the circus or in a        horses as well as dogs are engaged in fishing
variety theatre. But domesticated animals in the              directly, along with otters and birds such as cor-
real sense are not those animals which live with              morants and waterfowl. Moreover, people have
humans, either tolerated or unwanted, but those               learned to fish even with suckerfish and octopi and
which humans have tamed and bred for their own                also, by understanding the behaviour of many other
benefit or pleasure. The practice of domestic breed-           animals, how to find the prey wanted by careful
ing may deliberately change the animal’s charac-              observation.
teristics. Through selecting special animals as
parents, breeding is carried out with the specific
purpose of developing special qualities in the off-
                                                              4.1 Horses and fishermen
spring. Modern domesticated animals are simply                Before the invention of motorized transport there
the product of many generations of animals that               were only a few animals, such as donkeys, horses
have been bred and used by humans throughout.                 and cattle, to transport fishing gear and the catch
   Animals have also been tamed and trained for               and to carry fishermen to their fishing grounds,
use in fisheries. Training animals to catch fish may            which could be some kilometres away (Hurlburt
not be that difficult because many are known to                1975). Animals are sometimes also used indirectly
catch fish naturally. These animals include many               in fishing, e.g. cattle towing boats in and out of the
mammals, e.g. cats, otters, bears, seals and rats.            water on the Portuguese coast. Horses are directly
There even exists a species of bat which can fish.             connected with fishing, towing long seine nets in
There are also some animals which can be fed on               Argentine rivers such as the Rio de la Plata and the
fish but do not normally catch them, such as rein-             Rio Uruguay. Well known on the Belgian coast
deer and dogs. Many birds dive and fish, and some              were the famous horses of Oost Duinkerke ridden

32                                   Fish Catching Methods of the World

by shrimp fishermen when fishing (Boudarel 1948).          been trained to catch fish directly and to bring them
The heavy horses towed a small trawl-like gear for       to their masters. Dogs cannot take fish with their
catching shrimp in shallow water (Figure 26.16).         claws, as bears and cats do, because they are not
The net with the otter boards could be towed either      curved. They have to catch fish with their mouths.
by a single horse or by two horses as in pair trawl-     The Ainus, those mysterious European-like aborig-
ing (Chapter 26). Interestingly, this fishery was         ines of north Japan and Sakhalin in the USSR, pos-
prohibited from operating at the beginning of            sessed the art of training dogs to the extent that by
November to prevent chilling the horses, and they        order and by swimming in packs, they could
fished only in c. 30 cm of water for the same reason.     frighten fish into shallow water where they were
  The co-operation of horses in catching snappers        caught and retrieved (Weyer 1959). As a reward the
has been recorded from the Maoris of New                 dogs were given the fish heads. Similar observations
Zealand. The men would ride into shallow waters          have been made in other countries such as Ireland,
and, when a snapper was spotted, they would follow       Scotland, England and Wales as well as in Nor-
the fish until the exhausted animal tried to find a        mandy, France. It has also been reported that the
hiding place in the mud stirred up by the horse.         dogs of Hungarian shepherds could be trained to
Then the Maori would dismount with his pitchfork         catch single fish (Gunda 1974). That dogs can be fed
and wait till the snapper tried to escape. As soon as    with fish is generally known; the Inuits do so with
the fish made its escape attempt it was speared by        their sledge-dogs. Dogs of the Kamchatkans in the
the waiting Maori with the fork (Doogue 1974).           USSR, which are fed nothing but lightly salted and
                                                         dried or smoked fish in the winter, are said to fish
                                                         successfully in the summer on their own behalf.
4.2 Dogs used in fisheries                                Half-wild dogs on the Turkish Black Sea coast feed
The dog is a typical example of a domesticated           on fish and porpoises left by the fishermen on the
animal. His association with humans reaches back         beach. From Malaysia it is reported that crabs are
many centuries since first the wild dogs were tamed,      caught by dogs (Burdon 1951). In referring to dogs
handled and began to develop into the useful com-        in fisheries we have to mention, too, the dogs which
panions they are today. In their original free life,     towed mud-sleds for transporting shrimps from the
dogs were accustomed to unite in packs for hunting,      traps to the shore during low tide on the German
and to follow a leader, and it is this inherited char-   Bay (Figures 4.1 and 4.2).
acteristic that makes dogs suited for accompanying
huntsmen. Pictures of Diana as the hunting goddess
generally also show quick, slender whippets accom-
panying her. Dogs help the huntsman by nosing out,
scaring, encircling, chasing and retrieving the prey.
But to the fisherman the dog is no natural com-
panion. In general, such animals do not catch fish;
even the ancestors of dogs, like wolves, catch fish
only when they are ravenous. It is not just because
dogs can be afraid of water. They are helpful in
hunting waterfowl, but using them for fishing seems
to be against their nature. Nevertheless, it is some-
times reported that dogs have been known to
retrieve living fish in shallow water and to help the
sports fisherman to land fish taken by line (Gudger
  Dogs can be trained to drive fish into a fishing
gear and this trait has been seen in many different      Figure 4.1 Dogs towing a mud-sled for the transporta-
parts of the world. The inhabitants of Tierra del        tion of shrimps from the traps to the shore during low
Fuego used dogs to drive fish into nets placed on         tide at the German Bay in Wremen near Bremerhaven
small beaches (Gudger 1923). But dogs have also
                                       Animals as a Help in Fisheries                                      33

                                                        European countries kept otters for catching trout –
                                                        for instance in Scandinavia. The famous book by
                                                        Olaus Magnus, De Gentibus Septentrionalibus,
                                                        gives a sketch of a fishing otter in this area (Olaus
                                                        Magnus 1555). Fishing with otters was also known
                                                        in Central Europe (Germany and Poland) and
                                                        especially in England and Scotland. Here using the
                                                        otter for fishing was mentioned for the first time in
                                                        1480. Izaak Walton describes the training of otters
                                                        for fishing in his book, The Compleat Angler,
                                                        written in 1653. There he says that young animals
                                                        of 3–4 months of age were caught and trained like
                                                        dogs. The otter can become very tame and trusting
                                                        and will stay with his master during some 15 or 16
                                                        years of active fishing. The normal practice was for
                                                        the otter to be muzzled to prevent its eating the fish
Figure 4.2 The catch of shrimps is reloaded from the    and to be fastened by a line to its master. Released
mud-sled to a small barrow, both towed by dogs.         into the water, it scared the fish and chased them
                                                        into set nets, or else encircled them over dipnets set
                                                        in the river, like a dog rounding up sheep. Then,
                                                        when sufficient fish were over the net, the catch and
4.3 Fishing with otters                                 the otter were hauled in together (Walton 1950).
Otters are also included among those animals            Very little information exists about the use of otters
which can be trained for frightening and sometimes      in the New World, but apparently otters were also
even for retrieving fish. There are many species of      used in Central and South America (Gudger 1927;
otter in different parts of the world. Two of them      Wilbert 1955). The fishermen of Guyana are said to
may be used especially in fisheries. In India, Burma     use the otter as an indirect means of obtaining fish.
and south-west China, and as far south as Malaysia      By watching the place where the otter leaves its
and Sumatra, the ‘smooth otter’, Lutra perspicillata,   prey after capture, the fishermen can confiscate the
has been used by fishermen to drive fish into nets.       booty for their own use (Hickling 1961).
In more temperate Asia, in countries as far south
as Sri Lanka, Burma, Thailand and Sumatra, the
common otter, Lutra lutra, has been used for fishing
                                                        4.4 Fishing with birds
as it has in Europe and in northern Africa (Medway      The method of obtaining fish not by catching them,
1978). Marco Polo, in his travels >600 years ago, saw   but by stealing them out of the burrows and lairs of
Chinese people fishing with otters in the Yangtse        fishing animals such as otters, is also known for
Kiang River. Other travellers have also reported        birds. It was stated in 1827 that Hungarian poach-
this type of fishery being carried on today (Perosino    ers had taken fish out of the nests that eagles had
1963). Fishing with otters seems to be especially       built for their nestlings (Gunda 1974). It seems that
restricted to the Yangtse area, where it was known      this method of ‘indirect’ fishing was widespread in
before AD 600. The Chinese are reputed to have          the past and is also described by the famous scien-
developed commercial fishing with the aid of otters      tist Albertus Magnus (1193–1280).
from the inhabitants of Indo-China and the                 It is known that many birds catch fish. These are
Malaysian area. In India otters were used for fishing    powerful birds of prey such as eagles and hawks,
in areas of the rivers Indus and Ganges and else-       but also small birds like halcyons and kingfishers.
where in Bengal. Their use was also known               Herons and storks are well-known for fishing as are
in southern India, particularly in the bays of the      cormorants (see Section 4.5), as well as many types
Cochin Coast. From there, English sportsmen             of waterfowl, and therefore they are very often
sometimes took such trained animals back to             unwanted in ponds and lakes. There are also fishing
England with them. In early days, people in many        owls in Asia, Africa and Europe.
34                                  Fish Catching Methods of the World

  Not that many birds have been tamed for direct        like that of fishing with otters, was and is very con-
fishing or who can give indirect help in fisheries.       venient because the first commandment of their
This seems to be also true for pelicans. These birds    religious laws prohibits the killing of living crea-
are known for their collective fishing system. Swim-     tures which, of course, includes fish. Thus, when the
ming in a semi-circle they can drive fish into shallow   killing was done using animals and not by humans,
waters where they can easily be taken. However,         he was free of guilt.
pelicans are said never to have been domesticated          The cormorant fishery in Japan is the best known
or tamed to help humans in fisheries. On the other       (Gudger 1929; NN 1957). The year AD 813 is
hand, the Sumerians, aware of the successful fishing     reputed to be the historical beginning of the Japan-
activity of these birds, took the fish caught out of     ese cormorant fishery. Nevertheless, nocturnal
the throats of white pelicans. No further details       cormorant fishing seems to be much older; it is
about Sumerian fishing are known, but direct             mentioned in a historical report, named Kojiki,
fishing with cormorants in Japan, the use of water-      completed in AD 712. At any rate, the fishery was
fowl in Lake Dojran in south-eastern Europe, as         known in Japan before the Heian period, which
well as the fishery with ducks known in one part of      extends from the 9th to the 12th century. A record
Indonesia as discussed in the following section, may    from 1028 states that at Gifu the cormorant fisher-
be more successful than the method using pelicans.      men operated with 12 birds each – and that is how
                                                        it is still done today. Europeans did not learn about
                                                        cormorant fishing until the 14th century, but since
4.5 Cormorant fishing                                    the beginning of the 17th century they have also
Far more is known about fishing with cormorants          caught and used cormorants for fishing purposes.
(Figure 4.3), which by now are a serious competi-       But for Europeans, its practice was more a sport,
tor of inland water fishermen in Europe, than about      like that of falconry. This has been particularly true
fishing with any other bird. The Chinese knew and        in Belgium, France and England. Here, similarly to
practised this fishery with cormorants practically       fishing with otters, fishing with cormorants has
from time immemorial (de Thiersant 1872; Gudger         remained a hobby and has not become a general
1926; Kahlke 1964). Probably the Hindus, Indo-          method. For some time fishing with cormorants
Chinese, Koreans and Japanese learnt this method        became a royal sport like hawking. A ‘master of
of fishing from them. For the Brahmins and all           cormorants’ was a member of the English Royal
Buddhists, the practice of fishing with cormorants,      Courts of James I (1566–1626) and Charles I
                                                        (1600–1649). Also Louis XIII of France
                                                        (1610–1643) had, in about 1625, some tame cor-
                                                        morants in Fontainebleau, which are said to have
                                                        come from Flanders. This may be a hint that they
                                                        came from China, because Jesuit priests from the
                                                        Spanish Netherlands were sent as missionaries to
                                                        that country. Cormorants used for fishing are not
                                                        always of the same species. There are 26 species in
                                                        the world. The Japanese use only four in their
                                                        fishery, but principally the Chinese cormorants
                                                        Phalacrocorax capillatus and Phalacrocorax carbo
                                                        (sinensis). The latter is also the species most widely
                                                        spread throughout Europe, and it was this species
                                                        that was used here for fishing.
                                                           Unlike the practice of other countries which also
                                                        know of and use cormorants for fishing, the Chinese
                                                        have domesticated their birds in the real sense.
                                                        Whereas in other countries young cormorants have
Figure 4.3 Before the cormorants are released for       been caught and trained, the Chinese actually breed
fishing they are securely tied.
                                                        them from eggs. In west and south China the cor-
                                        Animals as a Help in Fisheries                                          35

morants that are held in captivity lay from three to
ten eggs in a season and these are then hatched by
hens because cormorants in captivity neglect their
eggs. Captive Japanese cormorants very seldom lay
eggs. They must therefore be caught as young birds
and tamed and trained. In Japan, wild cormorants
breed in the north of Hokkaido and on the Kuril
islands. In winter (middle of October to the end of
January) they migrate to central Japan. In the past,
young cormorants were only captured in the Ise
Bay on the Pacific coast of central Japan, but since
1922 cormorants have also been seen during winter
on the Ibaraki Prefecture north of Tokyo, and have
been caught there exclusively for fishing purposes
since 1950. To catch them, the migrating cormorants
are lured using living or stuffed birds to prepared       Figure 4.4 The Japanese cormorant fisherman in his
places and there caught with twigs coated with bird       typical dress. In the foreground are the baskets in which
lime.                                                     the cormorants are transported.
   Much effort and care is needed to satisfactorily
tame and train cormorants. The birds are inspected        fishing is allowed only during 3 months in winter;
daily and nursed so that they get used to people.         during the other 9 months the birds have to be fed
For that purpose the fisherman, in the beginning,          and this is a heavy burden on the fisherman, as each
tends them every 2–3 h, talks to the birds, and rubs      cormorant needs 800 g of fish per day.
them gently so that they become more and more                As with many animals that live in a community,
tame. Their beaks are filed so that they are unable        the cormorants have a strict order of precedence.
to hurt their masters and their wings are clipped.        The birds must always sit in the same order on the
This training takes 7–8 months. They are taught to        edge of the boats, otherwise there is trouble. Only
sit on the edge of the boat and to fish by order and       sociable or mutually friendly birds can be placed
also have to get used to their neck ring and line.        together in a transport basket. These are baskets
Cormorants can live many years in captivity and,          which will carry two and sometimes four birds
according to some reports, often attain 20–30 years       (Figure 4.4). The Chinese operate in daylight some-
of age. From the age of 3 to 8 years, however, they       times with completely free-swimming birds. This
are at their best for fishing, although it is expected     can be a single cormorant only. The bird has, on the
that they can be used for 10 years. A Japanese fish-       right foot, a line 1 m long. If the cormorant does not
erman possessing 20–22 birds must reckon to lose          return to the boat with its prey immediately after
three every year so that each year several new birds      diving, the fisherman can catch this line with a hook
must be procured.                                         on a long stick (Kahlke 1964).
   The principle of the cormorant fishery is that a           In Japan, 10 to 12 cormorants are fastened to
string is tied around the base of the neck before the     lines and are directed by the fishermen in night
bird is released for fishing. This permits it to           fishing when the river is illuminated by torches or
swallow only small fish. It is trained to deliver up to    fire baskets to attract fish. However, fishing by day-
its master larger fish which it cannot gulp down. It       light with free-swimming cormorants from the bank
is then rewarded with small fish. The birds can be         or from the boat is also practised in Japan.The main
taken to the river for fishing any day, but in bad         centre of the Japanese cormorant fishery is on the
weather caused by wind or snow, or when the water         Nagara River, notably around Gifu and Inugama in
is turbid, they cannot fish, but still have to be fed      the Gifu Prefecture. This fishery is there only as an
and watered. This also applies, of course, in the         attraction for tourists, and the fishermen, who are
period when fishing with cormorants is prohibited,         members of certain long-established families, are
as it is in Japan during certain periods. At Gifu, this   paid for their work of attracting visitors. The
is from 15 March to 10 May. On the Takatsu River          cormorant fishermen wear an ancient traditional
36                                    Fish Catching Methods of the World

costume with a black pointed cap and a straw apron         areas of fish within a short time, or at least to thor-
(Figure 4.4). It is said (and readily believed) that the   oughly frighten away all the fish in those waters.
cormorants know exactly who their keepers are.             Humans recognized this fact very early and have
Usually several boats operate together in a certain        sometimes used it for their own purposes, using
formation. As the first boat takes the better catches,      diving birds to drive fish into fishing gear erected to
turns are taken in that position. Every year over          trap them. The birds used in this way are not per-
100 000 visitors, Japanese as well as foreigners,          secuted as fish thieves but, on the contrary, are
travel to the Gifu Prefecture to see the nocturnal         greatly valued.
spectacle of the cormorant fishery in the light of the         In some areas of Finland and Sweden, the
burning fire baskets. It is certainly an attractive and     goosander, Mergus merganser, has been protected
interesting sight.                                         only because fish flee from them into artificial twig
   Fishing with cormorants has become too com-             huts or shelters which are then encircled by fishing
plicated and unprofitable in modern times to be             gear (Sirelius 1934; Thienemann 1951). Thus the
carried out by any large-scale fishing enterprise.          diving birds indirectly help the fishermen to scare
However, it still pays to catch high-priced fish such       various species of freshwater fish into these artifi-
as the ayus, Plecoglossus altivelis, a trout-like fish      cial shelters from which they can be taken from
famous for its annual anadromous migratory                 time to time. This method was apparently formerly
behaviour, which is considered a delicacy when             widely used, at least in some parts of Europe.
smoked or cooked. The cormorants, of course, also             In this connection, the fishery with birds on
catch other less valuable fish. According to Japan-         Dojran Lake (Apostolski & Matvejev 1955;
ese experience, efficient cormorants are able to            Meschkat 1957, Gliewe 1976), situated between
catch up to 150 fish in an hour, and that catch rate        Macedonia and Greece, is very interesting. As early
easily explains why fishermen consider free-living          as the 3rd century BC, Herodotus praised this cir-
cormorants to be one of the greatest menaces to            cular lake and its good fishery. The lake has a nearly
their fisheries.                                            uniform depth of 10 m and is therefore all accessi-
   Interestingly cormorant fishing was known not            ble to the diving birds that come from the north to
only in east and south-east Asia, but also on the          winter there. The fish flee before the birds and this
other side of the Pacific Ocean. It was apparently          is used by the fishermen, especially on the Mace-
developed and practised in Peru where ancient              donian beaches, to drive the fish together and con-
vases show painted scenes in which fishermen on             centrate them in traps. About 50% of all fishes,
rush rafts have birds with string round their necks,       primarily roach, carp, perch and bleak, are caught
which suggests that they might have been trained           on the Dojran Lake through the agency and help
exactly like the cormorants (Krickeberg 1939;              of birds. For this purpose, certain areas of the beach
Wilbert 1955).                                             are fenced with mats before the migrating birds
   It seems that today fishing with cormorants is           arrive, so that only one entrance remains open
operated in commercial fishing in continental               towards the lake. The fenced area is kept free from
China only. In Japan it has become purely a tourist        birds by special watchmen so that the fish can
attraction. Japanese, and visitors from overseas, like     retreat further away from the birds, which are then
to go out during the night with a pleasure boat to         diving freely out on the lake. Meanwhile some of
have a drinking party and to see the cormorants            the birds are caught in special traps (Figures 4.5 and
fishing in the light of the open fires which attract         4.6) and their wings are clipped. These birds, which
the fish.                                                   are unable to fly, are called the ‘working birds’. Par-
                                                           ticularly valued for this purpose are the mergansers
                                                           Mergellus albellus, Mergus merganser and Mergus
4.6 Driving fish with diving birds                          serrator; and of other diving species, particularly the
Tamed and trained cormorants are, or have been,            crested grebe Podiceps cristatus; of the cormorants,
useful for fishermen in the Far East, but in general        Phalacrocorax carbo, and of the loons, Colymbus
wild cormorants are detested by all fishermen. This         arcticus and C. seellatus. These last, however, come
is understandable because cormorants and other             to the Dojran Lake only in very cold winters. Other
diving birds are able to completely clear small lake       birds, such as Arctic diving ducks and also bald
Figure 4.5 On the Dojran Lake in Yugoslavia, birds are lured into special traps shown, and then placed in a
succession of chambers to drive the fish into other chambers where they can be caught. (Photo: B. Drnkov.)

Figure 4.6 Working birds trapped at the Dojran Lake. (See Figures 4.5 and 4.7). (From Apolstolski & Matvejev 1955
with permission.)
38                                  Fish Catching Methods of the World

coots, are used only as ‘emergency help’. Each           the mats are used at other places. In this way the
working group of birds is composed of various            fish are driven progressively towards and into the
species, the proper composition of which is essen-       last chamber where all the remaining fish in
tial for an efficient working team. Mergellus albel-      the area are concentrated. From that last chamber
lus is considered to be the most important working       the fish are taken by means of a fyke-net-like
bird.                                                    construction.
   After several weeks, when sufficient fish have             When the winter fishery is over, spring fishing for
gathered within the protective fence, the entrances      spawning fish begins using the same method. When
to these fishing areas are completely closed off by       that fishery, too, is finished the working birds are set
rush mats. Each area is then sub-divided into 20 or      free. It is reckoned that about 30% of the birds will
30 chambers. Each chamber is separated from the          have died before this time. The working birds
next one by loose open mats through which the fish        remain on the lake until their wings have grown
can pass but not the birds. When the now-hungry          again and they are once more able to leave their
working birds are brought into an outer chamber          involuntarily prolonged winter abode.
they soon begin to dive after the fish, thus chasing         There may be many more such tactics for catch-
them from that chamber through the mat into              ing fish with the help of birds in small-scale
the next one. Only the fish that are too big to go        fisheries. It is reported from Indonesia (South Kali-
through the mats are then left. These fish – which        mantan) that in fishing for snakehead, Ophio-
cannot be swallowed by the birds – (in particular        cephalus sp. – an air-breathing fish in tropical inland
large carp) are then speared by the fishermen             waters – ducks have been trained to chase their fry.
(Figure 4.7). The loose mats are replaced by dense       This causes the male and female snakeheads guard-
ones and the working birds are brought into the          ing the young fish to turn furiously on the duck
subsequent chamber. Here the hunt for the fish            which is then hauled aboard the canoe by a line at
begins anew. The empty chamber is broken up and          the end of a long bamboo pole attached to the boat.

Figure 4.7 The working birds are shown in this chamber, while fishermen with spears for catching the bigger fish
can be seen in the background. (From Apolstolski & Matvejev 1955 with permission.)
                                        Animals as a Help in Fisheries                                      39

The fish follow the withdrawn bird, snapping in            Columbus reported it as practised by the Indians in
their rage at unbaited hooks, and are caught              the Caribbean Sea (de Sola 1932) and Alexander
(Pownall 1975).                                           von Humboldt reported that this method was used
  Such fishing methods as those mentioned above            in Cuba for catching turtles. Today this fishing tech-
are based on a great knowledge of the behaviour           nique is unknown in the Caribbean. It was formerly
of fish and birds, and are a clear proof of how            probably known also in Venezuela and Columbia
much, even today, fishing methods are related              (Wilbert 1955). The Chinese are said to have known
first to biology and only second to engineering            about fishing with sucker fish, as did the dark native
technique.                                                fishermen of Australia in the Torres Strait between
                                                          Australia and New Guinea. On the east coast of
                                                          Africa, fishing with sucker fish was carried out from
4.7 Sucker fish for catching turtles                       Zanzibar, Kenya and the Comoro Islands. In earlier
This story about using animals to scare and capture       times, sucker fish were also probably used for
fish and other aquatic animals is not yet finished.         catching crocodiles in the estuaries of the Strait
A rather strange method involves the use of the           of Mozambique.
sucker fish or remora, Echeneis sp. These fish                 Remoras have been mentioned, too, as fish which
belong to the perch family, in which the anterior         can be caught by wrecked survivors drifting on a
dorsal fin is transformed into an adhesive disc. With      raft, when the fish try to fix themselves onto the
that disc they attach themselves to large fish,            raft. But it must be remembered that these fish
for instance, pelagic sharks, tuna and swordfish, in       would transfer immediately from the raft to a
order to be transported by them. This phenomenon          passing faster-moving fish or turtle (Robin 1977).
occurs both in aquatic animals and also in some
living in the air – such as insects which are towed
from place to place. Sucker fish are a well-known
                                                          4.8 Fishing with octopus
example of this phenomenon. They can attach               Certainly there are many other occasions when
themselves by suction, even to the bottom of ships,       fishermen make use, directly or indirectly, of
and it was believed in the ancient Mediterranean          animals or their behaviour, although in a less
that large specimens could even stop or hinder            demonstrative manner than has so far been
vessels. Mark Antony is said to have lost the battle      described. Only one other strange fishing method
of Actium (31 BC) when his vessel was stopped by          has to be mentioned here, even though no fish are
these fishes, and it is claimed that Caligula was cap-     caught! It is related that Japanese fishermen used
tured for the same reason on the voyage to Ostia.         octopi as divers to collect porcelain from a wrecked
This ability to adhere powerfully is used for catch-      ship which had a cargo of valuable porcelain bowls.
ing turtles and even sharks (Weule 1921; NN 1926;         This was in the Inland Sea, between the islands of
Hornell 1950).                                            Honshu and Shikoku. For this purpose an octopus
   For this purpose, remoras are caught with hook         was fastened to a line and lowered to the wreck.
and line, fastened at the tail by a line, and set free    Because of its wish to seize hold, and so escape, the
from a boat when the sighted victim is near.The fas-      octopus became attached by suction to the porce-
tening is usually made by means of a rope bored           lain in or near the wreck. When it was lifted out
through the peduncle or by a ring through or              of the water it brought with it the cups and vases
around the tail to which a line is attached. When the     to which it had sought to cling. During the
sucker fish have fastened themselves, for instance,        First World War the Cretans used tethered
to a turtle, a sort of drill begins until the victim is   octopi in the same manner to retrieve coal which
hauled alongside the boat, or at least so near that       had fallen overboard from warships (Lane 1960;
it can be speared. The attaching power of the sucker      Radcliffe 1969)! Nowadays, when fishermen in
fish is considerable and the one mainly used, Ech-         Japan and Korea are trolling for octopi (Figures
eneis naucrates, which is c. 60 cm long, can easily       12.31 and 12.32), a hooked animal can be hauled up
stand a pull of 9–10 kg.                                  with its hiding place, which can be an old teacup,
   It is most remarkable that fishing with sucker fish      but unfortunately today it is usually made of
has been known in so many parts of the world.             plastic!
40                                   Fish Catching Methods of the World

                                                         sea if they became stranded or entangled in the nets
4.9 Using the friendly porpoise                          by accident (Bert 1886).
Animals can often help indirectly to catch fish.            Something similar can be read in the old Norwe-
There is, for instance, the detection of fish by          gian king’s book, Konungsskuggsja (Meissner
observing the concentration of birds. Before the         1944), which reports that friendly relations existed
invention of our modern fish-detecting devices,           between the fishermen and the fish-hunting whales.
this was the practical fisherman’s most important         Such a whale, it is said,
method of finding fish shoals. Even today the obser-
                                                         ‘drives herring and other fish from the high sea
vation of bird flocks is used for recognition and
                                                         towards the land, and it has such an admirable
identification when airplotting shoals (von Brandt
                                                         nature that it knows how to steer men and ships and
1976; Sams 1971).
                                                         drives herring and other fish towards them, as
   Not only birds but also porpoises are used to find
                                                         though God has sent it and ordered it to do so and
tuna, since it was discovered that shoals of these fish
                                                         as though it be his duty as long as the fishermen are
were very often accompanied by porpoises (Perrin
                                                         fishing in a peaceful way. But when they are quar-
1968). It is an old story that porpoises and fisher-
                                                         relling and thrashing until blood runs, it appears
men are friends, especially in the Mediterranean.
                                                         that the whale is feeling it and it swims then
The Roman historian Pliny the Elder (AD 23–79)
                                                         between the land and the fish and drives them all
stated that the fishermen of Gallia Narbonensis
                                                         away from the fishermen to the high seas ...’.
(the Mediterranean coast of southern France)
caught mackerel driven into their nets by porpoises         It was therefore forbidden to hunt that whale
near to the shore. The Greek poet Oppianos (2nd          during the herring season. A similar story is told by
century AD) mentions with enthusiasm this uncon-         the Indians in the Gulf of Mexico. In this case
scious aid of porpoises for the fishermen of Euboea       killer whales drive the fish to the beach (Lips
in his didactic poem ‘Halieutica’ about fishing           1961). In Oceanic myths, tuna drive fish towards the
(Oppian nd). It has been stated that porpoises were      coast, and also in Tasmania similar stories are
first used to drive fish into nets thousands of years      told.
ago in India (Hood 1971). Even today, sardine fish-          More modern and realistic is fishing for mullet
ermen like to see these animals near their boats         with the help of dolphins, as carried out by the
when they are fishing with lights and surrounding         fishing tribe of Imraguan of the village of El
gear. The porpoises are shy of light but, according      Mahara on the Mauretanian coast. The fishermen
to fishermen, they circle round in curiosity at a dis-    beat the water to imitate the noise of jumping
tance from the lamps and thus help to round up and       mullet, which attracts the porpoises to catch them.
concentrate the sardine shoals. When they are con-       By this means the mullet are driven towards the
centrated the fishermen surround the sardine shoal        coast where they are caught in gillnets. Sometimes
with their nets.                                         killer whales, Orcinus orca, hamper the porpoises in
   The fishermen off the Turkish coast of the Black       doing this valuable work which the fishermen need
Sea believe that porpoises used to practise driving      in order to have a successful catch of mullet. This is
fish towards the coasts but, becoming frightened by       nearly the same tactic as mentioned before from
fishermen using dynamite on shoals near the sea           Gallia Narbonensis and known to the early writers.
shore, now stay out in the open sea. The result is       The relationship between humans and dolphin
that the fish schools no longer come to the coast.        behaviour has been exploited for many centuries
This is quite understandable as porpoises are very       and it may be possible to develop and extend this
sensitive to all kinds of noise. There is a story from   kind of fishing co-operation with dolphins to
the old fishery of Indo-China that their fishermen         other species of migrating fish (Busnel 1973). This,
learned that porpoises fed on mullet in the morning      however, exceeds the theme of this chapter, which
and evening. To escape their persecutors the mullet      should really deal with animals used for helping in
swam near to the coast at those times and there the      fishing. Moreover, the hunting and fishing folk of
fishermen were waiting to catch them with cast nets.      past times had the imagination to believe that the
At the same time, boys set to work frightening the       animals which helped them were really the ghosts
porpoises away and helped them to reach the open         of humans hiding themselves in animal bodies.They
                                          Animals as a Help in Fisheries                                           41

guided the booty to huntsmen or fishermen, like the            mariculture of the edible blue mussels (Mytilus edulis).
minke whale did with the herring.                             Marine Fisheries Review 37 (10), 10–18.
                                                            Kahlke, H.D. (1964) Die Kormoranfischerei in Lutschou.
                                                              Natur und Museum 94, 131–138.
References                                                  Krickeberg, W. (1939) Amerika. In: Die Grosse Völ-
                                                              kerkunde III. (ed. H. A. Bernatzik), 18–367.
Apostolski, K. & Matvejev, S. (1955) Fischfang in Umzäu-    Lane, F.W. (1960) Kingdom of the Octopus. New York.
  nungen mit Hilfe von Vögeln am Dojran-See. Izdanija       Lips, J.E. (1961) Vom Urspung der Dinge. Darmstadt.
  I (3).                                                    Medway, Lord (1978) The Wild Mammals of Malaya
Bert, P. (1886) Pêches et pêcheries de l’Annam. La            (Peninsular Malaysia) and Singapore. Kuala Lumpur.
  Nature.                                                   Meissner, R. (1944) Der Königsspiegel. Konungsskuggsjà.
Boudarel, N. (1948) Les Richesses de la Mer. Paris.           Halle/Saale.
von Brandt, A. (1976) The use of new methods for locat-     Meschkat, A. (1957) Fischtreiben mit Vögeln und andere
  ing fish over large areas. Applied Science and Develop-      absonderliche Fischereimethoden auf dem Dojran-See
  ment 7, 112–124.                                            in Jugoslavien. Fischwirt 7, 113–121.
Burdon, T.W. (1951) A consideration of the classification    NN (1926) La Pêche aux Colonies. Paris.
  of fishing gear and methods. Proceedings of the Indo-      NN (1957) History of the fishery for cormorants. Tokyo [in
  Pacific Fisheries Council Sect. II/21, Madras.               Japanese].
Busnel, R.-G. (1973) Symbolic relationship between man      Olaus Magnus (1555) De Gentibus Septentrionalibus.
  and dolphins. Transactions of the New York Academy          Rome.
  of Science 35 (2), 112–131.                               Oppian (nd) Halieutica. Loeb Classical Library. Harvard.
De Sola, C.R. (1932) The fisherman fish of the West           Perosino, S. (1963) La Pesca. Navara [in Italian].
  Indies. Bulletin of the New York Zoological Society 35,   Perrin, W.F. (1968) The porpoise and the tuna. Sea Front
  75–85.                                                      14 (3), 166–174.
Doogue, R. (1974) Hook, Line and Sinker. Wellington.        Pownall, P. (1975) Ducks help Danau Panggang fishermen
Gliewe, S. (1976) Am Dojransee in Macedonien. Allge-          to catch fish. Australian Fisheries 34 (2), 29.
  meine Fischerei-Zeitung (Fischwaid) 101 (7), 352–         Radcliffe, W. (1921/1969) Fishing from the Earliest Times.
  353.                                                        New York.
Gudger, E.W. (1923) Dogs as fishermen. Natural History       Robin, B. (1977) Survive à la Dérive. Paris.
  23 (6), 559–568.                                          Sams, M. (1971) Southeastern Pacific aircraft assisted
Gudger, E.W. (1926) Fishing with the cormorant. I. In         purse seining. In: Modern Fishing Gear of the World,
  China. American Naturalist 60, 5–41.                        Vol. 3. London.
Gudger, E.W. (1927) Fishing with the otter. American        Sirelius, U.T. (1934) Jagd und Fischerei in Finnland. In:
  Naturalist 61, 193–225.                                     Die Volkskultur Finnlands, Vol. 1. Berlin.
Gudger, E.W. (1929) Fishing with the cormorant in Japan.    Thienemann, A. (1951) Bilder aus der Binnenfischerei auf
  Science Monthly 29, 5–37.                                   Java und Sumatra. Archiv fuer Hydrobiologie Supple-
Gudger, E.W. (1941) Canine fishermen. Accounts of some         mentband 29, 529–618.
  dogs that went a-fishing. Natural History Magazine 47,     de Thiersant, P.D. (1872) Le Pisciculture et la Pêche en
  140–148.                                                    Chine. Paris.
Gunda, B. (1974) Beziehungen zwischen den naturbe-          Walton, I. (1950) The Compleat Angler. London.
  dingten Faktoren und der Fischerei in den Karpaten.       Weule, K. (1921) Die Anfänge der Naturbeherrschung I.
  Acta Ethnographica Slovaca I, 111–121.                      Stuttgart.
Hickling, F.C. (1961) Tropical Inland Fisheries.            Weyer, E. (1959) Primitive Völker heute. Gütersloh.
  London.                                                   Wilbert, J. (1955) Problematica de algunos métodos da
Hood, D.W. (ed.) (1971) Impingement of Man on the             pesca de los indios sudamerica as. Memorias de la
  Oceans. New York.                                           Sociedad de Ciencias Naturales de Salle 15, 41, Caracas
Hornell, J.S. (1950) Fishing in many waters. Cambridge.       [in Spanish].
Hurlburt, C.G. & Hurlburt, S.W. (1975) Blue gold,           Zeuner, F. (1967) Geschichte der Haustiere. Munich.
            Fish Harvesting after Stupefying

The fisherman who collects from the beach or                  the native fishermen of Australia, who threw
shallow water can secure only sedentary, stranded,           boomerang-like wooden projectiles at fish. If the
or slowly moving organisms, and active living fish            fisherman was lucky enough to hit it, the fish was
will seldom be caught. The collecting activity of the        stunned and could be caught by hand (Weule 1911).
diver is scarcely different, and fish caught in this          It must be remembered that most boomerangs used
way represent only a small percentage of the catch.          as missiles by native Australians in war and hunting
To prevent the escape of fish – which is possible             do not return to the thrower. The famous returning
even in small pools – humans have developed                  boomerang of Australia was mostly a plaything. It
methods to paralyse or to stun and stupefy the fish           was seldom used for hunting except for spinning
and thus ensure their capture.                               above flocks of ducks which mistake the gear for a
                                                             hawk and are driven down into nets strung from
                                                             trees. Boomerangs or other thrown wooden mis-
5.1 Simple forms of
                                                             siles for hunting were also known in Europe, India,
mechanical stupefying                                        ancient Egypt and Central America.
The simplest method of stupefying small game from               Another simple method, widespread in some
a distance is by throwing a stone, provided the game         areas that have cold winters, is mechanical stupefy-
is hit! Stones are considered as the first long-range         ing. Burbot and pike can be found spawning just
weapon of prehistoric man and they are used, even            beneath the ice in shallow water during the early
in modern times, in fisheries. The result may be that         spring. The fish can be seen through the ice if it is
the game is stupefied, or that it is injured, hamper-         transparent, but any attempt to make a hole in the
ing its escape, or even that it is killed. A similar         ice and capture the fish would be useless because,
result can be reached by striking the prey with a            despite their stupor resulting from the low water
short stick, a club, the blunt side of an axe or even        temperature, they would escape immediately. In the
a quick kick. Seals are stupefied by a blow from a            fisheries of north-east Europe as well as in North
hard wooden club followed by stabbing through                America, however, it was discovered that the fish
the heart with a sharp knife, which is considered            could be temporarily stunned or narcotized, and
a rapid, highly efficient and humane method of                thus prevented from escaping, by beating heavily
killing. Fish in the water are more or less protected        on the ice over them with clubs or mallets. Wooden
by this element against the efficiency of a blow and          hammers were used for this purpose even in
may not be killed but stunned only. As the blow is           the 1970s by non-professionals (Znamierowska-
made mechanically it is named ‘mechanical narco-             Prüfferowa 1976). To do this successfully, however,
sis’. Fishing by means of throwing stones can be             the ice must not be too thick, should already be
observed all over the world. Children especially             slightly brittle and the fish should be located just
throw stones at fish in an effort to stun or stupefy          below where the ice is struck (Rostlund 1952). The
them. The same result can be achieved by throwing            vibrations from by the blows on the ice cause tem-
clubs or other pieces of wood like those used by             porary stupefaction of the fish, which lasts long

                                       Fish Harvesting After Stupefying                                      43

enough for the fish to be retrieved from below the
ice. Sometimes, two people fish together; one looks
for the fish, to beat the ice above them with a
wooden club or hammer, and the other makes the
holes with an ice-axe and catches the stunned fish
by hand or with a scoopnet. This can also be done
during the night using lights. Sometimes fish are
also caught by children from under the first ice of
autumn. As children are light, they can move over
thin ice by crawling. The ice breaks with the first
strike made to stupefy the fish, which then has to
be captured very quickly by hand without the
catcher falling into the water(Ligers 1953). This ice-
beating method of stupefying the fish was men-
tioned by Olaus Magnus (1555). The technique is
not only known in northern countries but also in
the area of the Danube (Gunda 1974). An equiva-           Figure 5.1 Home-made dynamite bomb for fishing off
lent method of mechanical stupefying was known            the Turkish Black Sea coast (1963).
in the ancient Chinese fishery in which one knocked
with a hammer on the stones in a river to stupefy
fish which might be hiding beneath them (de Thier-         years to life. If the use of explosives results in the
sant 1872). This method of catching is also known         loss of human lives, the penalty can even be death.
in southern Asia. In Nepal, ‘rock striking’ with a        This prohibition is because the method is very dan-
hammer is considered a very harmful practice, like        gerous and because young fish and fish fry are also
poisoning and dynamiting (Shrestha 1981).                 destroyed by the explosion. Also, many useable fish
                                                          sink to the bottom because their air-bladders are
                                                          destroyed, so they are lost unless collected from the
5.2 Stupefying with dynamite                              bottom by divers. We know now that fish stupefied
Fishing by mechanical narcosis has also been devel-       for a short time only by explosion can swim away
oped in modern forms. When shooting at fish with           apparently undamaged only to die some days later
rifles and shotguns the intent is not so much to hit       as a result of internal injuries (Meyer-Waarden
the fish as to put a charge of bullet or shot just         1966). Off the Black Sea coast, Turkish fishermen
before its head so that the concussion caused in the      made dynamite bombs by pressing the dangerous
water temporarily stuns or stupefies the fish. To aid       material together, with a fuse, in the form of a great
shooting salmon in this way, for instance, a special      egg (Figure 5.1), which is held together by paper
small dam is often built so that the fish must come        and twine. The fisherman with the bomb takes his
to the surface to leap over it. Before it leaps, a shot   place in the bow of a boat which is rowed very
can be fired into the water near it and the stunned        slowly and quietly. As soon as a good school of fish
fish is then either caught by scoopnet or retrieved        is discovered, the fuse must be ignited from a ciga-
by dogs. Mechanical narcosis in fisheries is often         rette constantly smoked by this fisherman. The
produced by using explosives. Explosives are              bomb must then be thrown immediately to prevent
thought to have been used for fishing as early as c.       accidents occurring – lost fingers on the right hand
1600! Fishing with dynamite is known all over the         are typical defects of dynamite fishermen! Fishing
world and it is usually prohibited, unfortunately         with hand grenades as practised during both World
very often without success. Today fishermen can            Wars was particularly damaging. The hand grenade
often obtain dynamite without difficulty, sometimes        was actually called the ‘soldier’s fish hook’. When a
in exchange for fish, from people working in mines,        hand grenade was exploded in an experiment, a
quarries or in road-making, although some coun-           diver brought up from the depths ten times more
tries impose severe punishments for its use. In the       fish than was gathered on the surface (Cousteau
Philippines, the penalty is imprisonment from 20          1953). Fishing by dynamite in Greece became
44                                   Fish Catching Methods of the World

rather notorious, but now it has also been prohib-       are thereby narcotized, or at least so affected that
ited there for the reasons mentioned. Sharks,            they rise to the water surface for air and can be cap-
however, are attracted by such explosions since          tured easily. This fishery, however, must take place
they have learnt that the acoustic stimulant means       in small areas of stagnant or slow-running water.
that they can easily get fish for themselves.             Fish poisoning is generally used in small bodies of
Dynamite explosions are therefore now used in            water, up to about 500 ha, or in the bays and arms
some places to attract sharks. In small quantities,      of larger lakes (Ricker 1968). Pools too large to be
however, dynamite can be useful for frightening          bailed out can be treated with poison. In running
fish. Purse seiners in California used small bombs        water, barriers are installed downstream from
to frighten the fish away from the opening of the         where the poison is to be used to catch the more or
net before the gear is completely pursed and closed.     less floating, helpless fish. To make this fishery more
These bombs are called ‘cherry bombs’ according          profitable, the fish are driven together in certain
to their original form. In the Philippines, where        sections of a brook or lake before the poison is
fishing with large dipnets called ‘basnig’ is prac-       applied. To catch larger fish in deeper waters, poi-
tised, a small explosive charge was used to stun the     soned mixtures are put into the bellies of bait fish,
encircled fish and so prevent their escape when           a method known in many tropical fisheries. The
the net is lifted. This too, however, is now illegal,    stomach of a dead squid, for example, is filled with
although it is well known that the use of dynamite       a mixture of poison and the flesh of small fish
may possibly determine whether any particular            (Burdon 1954). As soon as the larger fish have
operation is a success or not.                           taken this bait, the poisoning effect makes them rise
                                                         to the surface. Using poisonous bait, or if divers
                                                         take poisonous substances down with them, as is
5.3 Fish poisoning                                       done in Samoa, enables this type of fishing to be
The mechanically achieved narcosis of fish is,            carried out in the deeper waters of the sea. Fish poi-
however, far less important than that produced           soning with ichthyotoxic plants provides perhaps
chemically by fish poisoning. For this purpose, poi-      one of the most interesting chapters in the story of
sonous material from so-called ichthyotoxic plants       native fisheries. Plants containing saponin and
is crushed, cut to pieces, or pulverized and sprinkled   those containing certain lactones are especially
on the water or added to bait (Figure 5.2). The fish      used in this method. These are very strong proto-
                                                         plasma poisons which have a stupefying effect on
                                                         the peripheral, sensory and motor nerves and
                                                         muscles of the fish caught.As fish suffer from cramp
                                                         and suffocation because of the breakdown of the
                                                         red blood cells, it is a very cruel method of fish
                                                         catching. It is therefore understandable that in
                                                         many countries this, as well as fish poisoning in
                                                         general, is prohibited or is only permitted under
                                                         certain conditions.
                                                            It is difficult to explain how these ichthyotoxic
                                                         plants with their specific poisonous effect on fish
                                                         were first discovered. Probably their properties
                                                         were found by chance, perhaps during washing,
                                                         because many plants containing saponin were used
                                                         for that purpose. As the primitive races, of course,
                                                         could not comprehend the connection, it is readily
                                                         understood how native ‘magicians’ effectively used
                                                         poisons in their exercise of fishery ‘magic’. It was
                                                         their knowledge of poisonous plants which gave the
Figure 5.2 Aborigines of the Xingu area fishing with      magicians or medicine men the power to influence
ichthyotoxic plants. (Photo: E.J. Fittkau.)
                                                         their tribesmen and appear to dominate the fish.
                                        Fish Harvesting After Stupefying                                     45

Various stories exist about how fish poisoning was
invented. A very nice one has been told by the
Indians in Guyana (Kunicke 1912). A long time ago
a father was going out with his little son to bathe.
The father was astonished to see that the fish always
died when the boy was swimming in the water. It
was easy to collect the fish and they were found
good to eat. Therefore the father practised this
method of fish catching. But the fish decided to
prevent the future death of members of their fam-
ilies, so one day when the boy was sitting on a
wooden block before jumping in the water, some
sting-rays came and jumped together out of the
water against the boy, wounding him with their hard
spines. These wounds were very dangerous and the           Figure 5.3 ‘Fish-seeds’ and ‘crow’s eyes’ for fish
father was naturally anxious to carry home his             poisoning.
dying son. As he did so the lad’s blood dropped on
the ground and each spot became an ichthyotoxic
plant (Loncho carpus). That plant has been used by         been known in Europe for centuries and their use
the Indians for fish poisoning in rivers ever since         was prescribed for fishing in Brunswick in 1528.
that time. Fishing with poison is particularly preva-      Fish are said to recover from this narcosis when
lent in tropical areas such as Asia and South              brought into fresh water and, to assist that recov-
America, but it is also used in the temperate zones        ery and to provide good quality fish, it is reported
of Asia, Europe and North America. It has been a           from Bosnia that liquors were poured into the fish’s
matter of discussion whether the absence or disap-         mouth (Brühl 1913). Sports fishermen also note
pearance of some fishing methods from the fishery            that when pike fishing it is very important that the
of the Indian tribes of North America could pos-           bait is lively, even if it has to be enlivened occa-
sibly be traced to their having discovered the             sionally by a nip of brandy (Trench 1974). So it is
substantially more successful and easier method            to be feared that this striving for the attainment of
of using poison (Rostlund 1952). The number of             high quality was only an excuse for the fisherman
ichthyotoxic plants useful for fishing seems to be          to provide himself with the spirits he himself
quite considerable (Umali 1957). The stupefying            needed or desired!
chemicals can be concentrated in the stems, roots,            The so-called ‘crow’s eyes’ or nux vomica is
leaves, seeds or berries of these plants. A list of such   another fish poison that is equally well known in
names would, in fact, run into many hundreds –             European fishing practice. These are the flat seeds
maybe even thousands. Only a few of them have              of a shrub growing in Indo-China and Australia. It
become widespread and some have even been                  is called Strychnos nux vomica and is sometimes
introduced into European fisheries (Figure 5.3).            even cultivated in order to produce the alkaloid
Among these plants are kokkelseed. These are also          brucinum and strychnine. The seeds contain up to
called ‘fish seeds’ or ‘lice seeds’, and in the boiled      5% of alkaloid, of which a little less than half is
form the liquid is used for exterminating vermin.          strychnine. Finally, there is rotenone, a very impor-
Kokkelseeds are the fruit of Anamirta cocolus, a           tant fish poison also known in Europe. Many plants
creeping shrub with cork-like bark which grows in          contain this poison and are used in fishing, includ-
Indo-China and Sri Lanka. The seeds contain picro-         ing the native fisheries of South America as well as
toxin, of which small doses cause narcosis. Black          those of southern Asia. In Malaysia it is especially
Sea fishermen roasted the seeds before crushing             the root of tuba or derris that is used. Derris is a
them, the powder was carefully mixed with dough,           name applied to several tropical twining plants of
from which small pellets were made and thrown              the great family Leguminosae from southern Asia,
into the water where the fish were expected. This           particularly those found in India – Derris elliptica
bait quickly stupefied the fish. The seeds have also         (Beuth), D. uliginosa (Beuth) and D. lagensis
46                                  Fish Catching Methods of the World

(Prein) (Holttum 1973). Derris elliptica is used        of 1 kg per 100 m3 sufficient to kill or facilitate the
especially to extract rotenone which is also known      removal of all fish from a particular water. Besides
as a valuable insecticide. The roots of these plants    those plant poisons originating from tropical zones,
contain up to 10% of rotenone, the greatest amount      there are quite a number of indigenous plants in
being found in the bark of the root (Plomann 1958).     Europe that have also been used for fishing,
Derris roots are called ‘akar tuba’ in Malay, there-    although these are fewer than the thousands of
fore it is also known as tuba root. Rotenone has        ichthyotoxic plants found in the tropics. There are
been used for fishing in south-east Asia from time       lists in both old and modern literature of the plants
immemorial as a fish poison for individual fishing,       used for fish poisoning in Europe, but very often
even when now forbidden – and also for festive          many dubious names are included, and also plants
occasions. (For the festival of ‘Fish Drive’ in         attracting fish are mixed with ichthyotoxic ones.
Pahang, a state on the east coast of Malaysia, ‘tons    The best-known ichthyotoxic plants in Europe are
of tuba roots are crushed and pounded for a juice       the following:
that intoxicates the fish, causing them to zigzag
merrily to the surface …’.) Rotenone, like other        1. Yews (Taxaceae)
ichthyotoxic materials, is not only used for catching      Common yew (Taxus baccata)
fish but also for the eradication of unwanted            2. Spurges (Euphorbiaceae)
species, e.g. the piranhas, Serrasalmus sp. in Brazil      Spurge (Euphorbia esula)
(Welcomme 1979), and unwanted fishes in pond             3. Daphne plants (Thymelaeaceae)
fisheries. Fish are extremely sensitive to rotenone         Common daphne (Daphne mezereum)
poison, so a very small amount is enough to stupefy     4. Primroses (Primulaceae)
them. Bundles of derris roots can be bought either         Cyclamen (Cyclamen europaeum)
fresh or dried in the south Asian markets. For          5. Borage (Borraginaceae)
fishing purposes the roots are crushed and pulver-          Ox tongue (Anchusa officinalis)
ized in water, and exude a milky juice. This juice is   6. Shade (Solanaceae)
also used by Chinese gardeners as an insecticide on        Thorn apple (Datura stramonium)
plants. Dried roots must be soaked first. In Guyana,        Tobacco (Nicotina tabacum)
the bundles of roots are pounded with a stick or           Common henbane (Hyoscyamus niger)
stone in water, producing a thick milky juice. The      7. Scrophularia (Scrophulariaceae)
roots are wrung out in the water until all the juice       Mullein (Verbascum nigrum)
has been extracted.The milky emulsion is then scat-        Mullein (Verbascum undulatum)
tered over the water. In 1–2 h, when the fish are
swimming violently about near the surface, they can       This list is far from being complete even for
be caught by hand, with spears or with scoop nets.      Europe. There are some ichthyotoxic plants more
In some places in south Asia derris is cultivated for   especially in south-eastern Europe (Gunda 1967;
the production of rotenone. This is done in open        Diaconescu 1976). Some of these plants, such as
ground and the derris is not allowed to grow into       yew, daphne, cyclamen, thorn apple and henbane,
large plants. In the forest, related species of these   are also dangerous to humans. The effect of yew as
plants grow into enormous lianes (Holttum 1973).        a fish poison is disputed: in place of it, juniper and
Nowadays rotenone can be produced synthetically.        arborvitae, or the etheric oils contained in their
As it is a poison specifically affecting fish, and is     leaves, are mentioned as being preferable for their
relatively harmless to men and warm-blooded             poisoning effect on fish. Irish salmon fishermen
animals, it has become important in modern fishery       used the crushed roots of the Irish spurge (E.
practice as it can be used when it becomes neces-       hiberna). These roots were dug up, allowed to decay
sary to remove bad fish stocks or those of minor         and then crushed. The mass was then put into bags
quality from certain waters or areas. Rotenone, as      and trodden into the water of the river in which it
well as other poisons, can be used in circumstances     was desired to kill salmon (Went 1964). For daphne,
where fishes have to be harvested very quickly, e.g.     the poison is produced by boiling the blossoms.
when a stretch of water dries up (Au Lai-Shing          According to tradition, daphne was used in China
1970). Rotenone is highly efficient, with a dilution     for fishing as long ago as 2200 BC. The sap of cycla-
                                       Fish Harvesting After Stupefying                                      47

men tubers is also used in poison fishing. This was        Aleutian Islands, hunters planted poisoned spears
known to the Romans – and their descendants are           in the whales and returned to the shore. In 2 or 3
still aware of it. The leaves and roots of ox tongue      days the infected whale died and was washed
can also be used, and it has been said that fish-          ashore where it was claimed by the owner of the
thieves rubbed their feet with the leaves of this         spearhead, on which he had cut his mark.The points
plant before wading into the forbidden water              of arrows were also poisoned by these people using
(Boeck 1972). From Solanaceae plants particularly,        roots of aconite, Aconitum sp., a member of the
the seeds are used for fish poisoning. In Romania,         family Ranunculaceae. For this purpose the roots
the seeds of thorn apples were removed and mixed          were dried and pounded or grated, water poured
with the bile of pigs. This concoction was mixed into     upon them and then kept in a warm place until
small balls of maize meal and then thrown into the        fermented. The German traveller G.W. Steller
water (Diaconescu 1976). The poison from daphne,          (1709–1747) wrote the first report about whaling
and also mullein, is obtained by boiling the blos-        with poisoned arrows from the Kuril Islands but his
soms. The poisoning effect of mullein blossoms            work was not published until 1774. Poison whaling
(which contain saponin) was known to the Greeks,          was carried out, as far as is known, not only on the
who learned it from the Phoenicians. Old fishery           coasts of the Aleutian Islands and Kuril Islands,
books give many formulae for the use of various           but also on the Kodiak Islands and the coasts of
poisonous plants in fishing. The object was always         Kamchatka and off Hokkaido in northern Japan.
to stupefy the fish in such a way that they rose to        Another special form of working with poisoned
the surface and could be easily captured by hand.         wounding gear is the infection of whales with a
As in hunting, poisons of animal origin, as distinct      lethal bacteria. The Norwegians have known this
from those made from plants, are rarely used              method for at least 500 years in whaling practices.
for fishing. Occasionally gallic acid from various         In one isolated district, shooting whales with poi-
animals such as sheep, cows, or carp is employed,         soned – or better, infected – bolts was used until the
e.g. in Egypt or, as mentioned before, in Romania.        1890s (Rausing 1967). For this purpose the fjord
The effect is similar to that of saponin as it destroys   with a whale in it was closed by netting and the
the blood cells, affects the muscles and deadens          animal was infected using arrows contaminated
the circulation and nervous system. In some cases,        with bacteria from swine suffering from anthrax.
water in which black trepang has been boiled is           The whale became sick after 1 or 1.5 days, rose very
used for fish poisoning. Ryukyuan fishermen poison          often and could be killed easily (Brinkmann 1964).
fish by throwing trepang pieces into the sea, and it       Fishermen remembered this method during World
has been claimed that then a large number of fish          War II, when whales could not be killed by shoot-
rise to the surface. This method has been well            ing with rifles or other guns, and only crossbows
known in the fisheries of the Indian and Pacific            were available to them.
Oceans since olden times. In small ponds it seems
to be sufficient to hang such animals in the water
or to use fluid squeezed from the intestines, or the
                                                          5.4 Fishing with industrial chemicals
secretion of the skin. In many countries fish poi-         Spreading industrial chemicals on the water is
soning has been forbidden for a long time. In             another way of catching fish. By this means the fish
Germany the use of the fruits of yew and daphne           are not only stupefied but can also suffer irre-
for fish poisoning has been forbidden since 1912.          versible damage. The so-called lime fishery is one
Nowadays, more effective chemicals have replaced          of these methods of affecting fish by caustic sub-
the ichthyotoxic plants. Nevertheless, in tropical        stances. For this purpose quicklime, i.e. dry lime
areas fish poisoning may remain a very useful and          before it is slaked with water, is thrown into the
simple method of catching fish, especially if the          water. As it slakes, the gills of the fish are cauter-
poison is used carefully and economically. A special      ized and they rise to the surface. In a dictionary for
method of fishing must be mentioned here, and that         hunting and fishing, published in 1772, the follow-
is fishing with poisoned wounding gear (Chapter 6).        ing direction for using lime is mentioned (NN
Especially in whaling, poisoned heads of spears           1772): ‘Two people drag a sack of lime to and fro in
or arrows have been used in some areas. On the            the water, thus all fish become blind, and rise to the
48                                  Fish Catching Methods of the World

surface so that they can be caught by hand.’ This       Many African people undertake collective fishing
method, too, is prohibited in most countries. In        by partially suffocating the fish by muddying up the
Egypt lime is used to remove predatory fish such as      water of small pools. This principle of suffocating
eel and catfish from fish ponds. After the ponds          the fish by stirring up the mud may underpin many
have been drained, the eels and catfish dig into the     of the big communal fish drives, so much a feature
soft mud to c. 1 m deep. Burnt lime, c. 1 ton/ha, is    of primitive tribal custom, especially in tropical
then spread over the mud. The predatory fish begin       countries. This method is also known in temperate
to appear on the surface of the mud within 24 h and     zones. Stupefying the fishes by deoxygenation has
can be collected.Another method of using unslaked       been reported from some areas of Hungary with
lime for fishing is to use it to create an explosion.    small shallow waters full of plants and rich in fishes,
In this case a bottle is filled with quicklime and       where fishing with usual fishing gear is not possible.
submerged. As water enters the bottle the lime is       Farmers with their whole family stir up the mud by
slaked and the bottle explodes. The fish are stupe-      trampling around in the water. Here as elsewhere
fied in a mechanical manner, but they are also           muddying is also often produced by driving a herd
damaged by the caustic chemical. A similar effect       of cattle or horses to and fro in the pool (MacLaren
can be caused using carbide. Copper vitriol is          1958; Hickling 1961; Gunda 1974). During the
another chemical used for killing fish in water, but     hauling of purse seines for large tuna, some fisher-
it is mostly used to frighten animals such as octopi    men jump into the water inside the closed gear full
out of their holes. For this, divers put a cloth bag    of large fish to catch them by hand. This is only pos-
containing copper sulphate crystals into a cave sus-    sible because the fish, being pressed together in the
pected of harbouring an octopus. The dissolving         gear, are nearly half dead from lack of oxygen.
chemical contaminates the water, forcing the crea-
ture to come out into the open where it can be
caught. Also, mussels burrowing in tidal areas can
                                                        5.6 Electrical fishing
be brought out with the help of this chemical.          In addition to stupefying fish by mechanical and
Sodium hypochlorite, bleach, is also used for scat-     chemical means, it is also possible to narcotize them
tering in the hiding places of some water animals.      with electricity. This is done by one of the most
Nowadays so-called ‘chemicals for collectors’ are       modern fishing methods – electrical fishing. In prin-
offered with different trade names for harvesting       ciple its aim is the same as the mechanical and
‘ichthyological specimens’ during scientific expedi-     chemical methods just described; otherwise unob-
tions. The chemical is spread in different concen-      tainable fish are narcotized so that they cannot
trations over the water surface, or by divers, in the   escape, and can thus be easily caught. That some
likely hiding places of fish. The chemicals are said     fishes have the ability to produce electrical current
to be of rapid stupefying power without toxic           has already been reported by writers of some 1000
hazards to collectors, divers, or people who may eat    years ago. It was known that some rays such as
the fish gained by this method.                          Torpedo sp. produce an electrical current for their
                                                        partial orientation, to locate their prey, and to
                                                        stupefy or even kill it. Although the practical use of
5.5 Deoxygenation or suffocation                        electrical fishing methods began after World War I,
Finally, another ‘chemical’ method has to be men-       it was not before the end of World War II that
tioned. It is well known that after a violent storm     research work enabled humans to imitate the tech-
has caused deoxygenation through the stirring up        nique of the electric ray to use electricity for fishing.
of the bottom mud, fish die in great numbers. This       Scientists interested in physiological problems
principle is known in many parts of the world –         studied the reaction of aquatic animals to direct and
even when the reason for this effect is not under-      alternating currents and, since 1912, also to the so-
stood. The Indians in Guyana trample the mud to         called interrupted current discovered by the
stir it up until the fish are suffocated and can be      Frenchman Leduc in 1900. In the meantime, it was
caught easily. Australian aborigines muddy the          found from the accidental breaking of an electrical
water in the same way with their feet and then club     cable which fell into a river, that fish could be
or spear the half-stupefied fish (Roughly 1968).          caught very easily after stupefying by electricity.
                                          Fish Harvesting After Stupefying                                        49

The result was that people, with or without permis-           ful. The fish to be caught, its type, its physiological
sion, tried to catch fish with the help of electrical          condition, and its position in the electrical field also
current. A report from Romania (Diaconescu 1976)              influence the success of the operation. Direct
gives an impression of how this has been done there           current is used for this type of fishing, i.e. in the
and elsewhere. ‘An electrical cable transmitted the           form of interrupted direct current as the so-called
electricity to a river, where it was turned around the        impulse current has a greater physiological effect.
shaft of a hay fork, touching the iron parts. In some         It was seen very soon by practical fishermen that
villages a stick with a breadbasket made of wire fas-         the direct current interrupted by switching off and
tened on one end is used like a scoop net for catch-          on had a greater effect than the uninterrupted
ing the stupefied fish.’ This was of course a very              current, but it was not before 1948 that impulse gear
dangerous form of electrical fishing used before the           was introduced in practical fishery by C. Kreutzer.
first transportable generators or powerful batteries           Direct current has a really narcotizing effect,
were introduced as sources of energy. Originally,             whereas alternating current produces only cramps
practical fishing with electricity was applied only            in the muscles, possibly with the fish retaining full
to fresh water. Its development required not only             consciousness (Vibert 1967; Halsband & Meyer-
co-operation between fishermen and electrical                  Waarden 1975; Menzebach 1979). Four stages can
engineers, but also the aid of physicians and neu-            be distinguished in the effect which direct current
rologists. Nevertheless till now many questions               has on fish. When the fish enters the electrical field,
have remained unanswered. The basic principle is              it feels the first stage of agitation. In the marginal
that an electric field develops when both the anode            zones of the field, this may have a frightening effect
(+) and the cathode (–) of an electrical system are           and thus allow the fish to escape. The second stage
put into the water.As soon as a fish enters that field,         is ‘galvanotaxis’ when the fish reacts anodically; i.e.
two things may occur. If the conductivity of the              it swims towards the anode. This is a great advan-
water is low the current will use the fish as a better         tage because the fish is guided to the desired place.
conductor and flow to a great extent through it: if            When the fish approaches the anode, the third
the conductivity of the water is much better than             stage, narcosis, occurs (‘galvanonarcosis’). The fish
that of the fish, the current will then flow around             begins to sink and has to be caught quickly. The
the fish. In the first case the current has a stupefy-          anode is therefore usually designed to be attached
ing effect on the fish, but not in the second case             to a scoop net (Figure 5.5). Finally, the fourth stage
(Figure 5.4). This also explains how it is that varying       occurs when the power used reaches the killing
results are frequently obtained from electrical               threshold. With alternating current the first stage is
fishing and that difficulties must occur in sea water           also convulsion only. In the second stage, the so-
which has a high conductivity.This conductivity also          called ‘oscillotaxis’, the fish is turned vertically to
depends on the temperature. A low temperature                 the electrical field, and does not react anodically. In
increases the conductivity so that electrical fishing          the third stage the fish will be stupefied (‘elec-
may not be successful in certain waters during                tronarcosis’) and may be killed. If the current is
summer but would be so in winter or in unexpected             switched off at the right time, some fish are not
cool seasons when other methods are not success-              killed but remain narcotized for some minutes
                                                              before they recover and can swim away. The reac-
                                                              tion of the fish in the pulse current is similar to that
                                                              for the interrupted direct current. The fish reacts
                                                              anodically, but the physiological effect is much
                                                              higher. It also becomes possible to catch fish under
                                                              unfavourable conditions such as in waters with
                                                              higher conductivity. Hitherto electrical fishery as a
                                                              fishing method has been carried out mainly in fresh
Figure 5.4 How electrical current introduced into water       water from the banks or from a boat. Figure 5.6
affects fish: (a) in water with low conductivity the current   shows examples of electrical fishing in small fresh
flows through the fish; (b) in water with good conductiv-       waters. In each case a scoop net is an integral part
ity the current flows round the fish.
                                                              of the anode. The cathode can be stationary or
50                                   Fish Catching Methods of the World

Figure 5.5 Team of men operating electrical fishing in
fresh water. The fish are forced to congregate round the
anode beneath which a scoop-like net is suspended for
lifting them out of the water. (From Meyer-Waarden 1957
with permission.)

towed netting made of wire, or a sheet of metal, or
netting with wires placed inside. Figure 5.6a shows
a fishery from the shore, where the aggregate is set
on shore. Electrical fishing with a boat is much
more flexible (Figure 5.6b). The electrodes can be
placed like those shown in the figure, or the anode        Figure 5.6 Different types of electrical fishing in fresh
is guided by hand and the cathode is towed at a dis-      water: (a) from the shore; (b) by boat; (c) driving with
tance of two or three metres behind the boat. A           electrified netting.
special form of shore fishery is shown in Figure 5.6c,
where the fish are frightened into a scoop net or          trast to all other fishing methods does not disturb,
another gear is set on the end of the section to be       drive or press the prey. It cannot be denied,
fished. Electrical fishing is often the only possible       however, that there are sometimes unexpected
method of fishing waters that are otherwise inac-          difficulties with electrical fishing. Therefore some
cessible because of many obstacles and underwater         experience is needed to understand why, in some
growth. It is a method that is useful for controlling     cases, the method cannot work or in others why
and ascertaining the extent of stocks of fish.             success at the beginning of an operation later
Through it, fish regarded as vermin, as too old or         diminishes. Unfortunately, these difficulties have
sick, or of poor type, can easily be removed. Spawn-      increased in some countries owing to the amount of
ing fish can also be carefully procured and the            pollution in fresh water. Pollution influences the
fingerlings easily caught. In an emergency a fish           physiological behaviour of the fish in a manner
population can quickly be saved or damage can be          disadvantageous for electrical fishing. With direct
controlled immediately by the use of electricity. At      current, the typical anodical effect can sometimes
present it is perhaps the only fishing method used         be lost owing to the influence of pollution. This
in fresh water fisheries that permits the genuine          means that the fish no longer swims under the influ-
management of a fish stock – at least in cases where       ence of electrotaxis in the direction of the anode
it can be correctly applied. Electrical fishing in con-    (e.g. a scoop net), but remains at a distance. Never-
                                       Fish Harvesting After Stupefying                                         51

theless, with the pulse current, the reaction of the
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  cherei. No. 37. Hamburg.                                    pines. Proceedings of the Eigth Pacific Science Congress
NN (1772) Onomatologia forestalis-piscatorio-venatoria        IV, 309–336.
  oder vollständiges Forst-, Fisch- und Jagdlexikon.        Vibert, R. (1967) Fishing with Electricity, its Application
  Frankfurt/Leipzig.                                          to Biology and Management. FAO/EIFAC, London.
Plomann, J. (1958) Das pflanzliche Gift ‘Rotenon’ und        Welcomme, R.L. (1979) Fisheries Ecology of Floodplain
  seine Bedeutung für die Fischerei. Deutsche Fischerei-      Rivers. London.
  Zeitung 5, 22–25.                                         Went, A.E.J. (1964) The pursuit of salmon in Ireland. Pro-
Rausing, G. (1967) The bow. Some notes on its origin and      ceedings of the Royal Irish Academy 63, Sect.C., No. 6,
  development. Acta Archaeologia Lundensia, Series 8, 6.      191–244.
Ricker, W.E. (1968) Methods for Assessment of Fish Pro-     Weule, K. (1911) Kulturelemente der Menschheit.
  duction in Fresh Waters. Oxford/Edinburgh.                  Stuttgart.
Rostlund, E. (1952) Freshwater Fish and Fishing in Native   Znamierrowska-Prüfferowa, M. (1976) Bemerkungen
  North America. Los Angeles.                                 zur traditionellen Fischerei in Polen. In: Studien zur
Roughly, T.C. (1968) Fish and Fisheries of Australia.         Europäischen Traditionellen Fischerei (ed. E. Solymos).
  Sydney.                                                     Bajai Dolgozatok 3, 17–34.
Shrestha, T.K. (1981) Wildlife of Nepal. A Study of
  Renewable Ressources of Nepal Himalayas. Katmandu.
 Spearing, Harpooning and Shooting Fish

The range and capacity of humans to seize living                developed to satisfy the need to extend the range
fish, or fish that have been stunned or narcotized by             and reach of the human arm. It is the same devel-
some means from a distance, is limited by the length            opment which led to the use of a club or hammer
of his arm. By using a stick, the fisherman who is               instead of the fist; the development from the cupped
gathering or collecting his catch can reach objects             hand for lifting water to the creation of the bowl, the
from further away and possibly even secure them.                spoon and the shovel. Using a spear in water,
The simplest implement for such purpose is a                    however, is not as easy as it is on land. The refrac-
pointed stick – a kind of lance or spear, which can be          tion of light in the water must be allowed for, and it
used to touch, hook, spear and catch fish and other              needs experience to compensate for it exactly. This
aquatic animals further away than his arm can                   is all the more necessary when fishing is practised
stretch. The spearhead has to be formed in a special            with spears under artificial light at night (Figure
manner to secure the prey. Japanese have compared               6.1). In an old German book, spear fishing in Lake
the spear with the lengthened human arm and the                 Constance is described as a difficult method of
spearhead with the nails of the fingers (Nishimura               fishing, which needed a lot of experience and power
1964).The range of a spear depends on the length of             (Klunzinger 1892). Spearing should be carried out
its shaft and this depends on its purpose. The range            in calm and shallow waters and large fish need to be
of a spear can be further extended when the spear is            still for some time if they cannot be found in a large
not only pushed but thrown as a ‘manpower gear’ or              school.
shot like a missile with the help of some device such              Fishing with spears has certainly been known for
as a catapult. In this way the range of the fisherman            over 10 000 years (Znamierowska-Prüfferowa 1957;
can be doubled, tripled or extended even further.               Chen 1960) and such spears are indeed found in all
    Spears have been known since time immemorial.               the fisheries of the world. Islamic fishermen some-
Unfortunately, in prehistoric finds as well as in col-           times hesitate to use fishing spears. On the Turkish
lections of spears obtained from primitive people,              Black Sea coast there is a legend told about a blas-
it is often not clear if the object found is a fish spear        phemous pharaoh who wanted to kill the Lord of
or a weapon, a ceremonial implement, an agrarian                Abraham. When he was shooting an arrow, angels
fork, or a device for offering meat in a sacrifice.              were ordered to keep a fish (Zeus faber) in the way
Even in European museums, eel spears are con-                   of the missile and the fish was pierced instead of
sciously or unconsciously sometimes exhibited as                God. In gratitude for this service the Lord ordered
candlesticks of the Middle Ages!                                that never more should a fish be pierced by a spear
                                                                or arrow. This is one of the stories why the ‘John
                                                                Dory’ has its characteristic spot. Today, primarily
6.1 Spearing with pushed gear                                   larger and more valuable fish such as salmon, tuna,
The fishing spear in its simplest form is the fisher-             swordfish, sharks and eels are speared in commer-
man’s most primitive gear and is known from pre-                cial fisheries in inland waters and off the coasts.
historic times. Like the hunter’s spear, it was                 However, other fish, especially when spawning,

54                                  Fish Catching Methods of the World

Figure 6.1 Hundreds of years ago it was found that fish were attracted by light. This engraving by the Frenchman,
Duhamel du Monceau, shows vigorous fishing with spears by torchlight (1776–79).

are also speared. Moreover, spears are also used
by commercial fishermen to catch slow-moving
octopus, sea cucumbers and sessile sponges. Spear-
ing has also become a form of sport fishing (Chapter
10), but in many countries spearing, and the use of
other instruments which penetrate or mutilate, is
forbidden. (Sometimes this is not done to protect
fish but because such spears can also be weapons of
attack against humans!) In various other countries
special permission for spearing is or was needed. For
instance in Poland, older fishermen who could no
longer go out with a boat during winter were given
special permission to use spears up to the 1970s.This     Figure 6.2 Owing to the refraction of light by the water
was also done for social reasons in the previous          surface, the fish seems to swim higher and further away
                                                          than its true position.
Federal Republic of Germany and in Schleswig-
Holstein for the Baltic Sea up to 1979 (pers. comm.).
   Spears range from the simple pointed hardwood          refraction of light by water. The fish is not exactly
stick, such as Australian natives use even today, to      at the place where it is to be seen from outside the
the more complicated many-pronged spears. The             water, but appears to swim higher and further away
wooden point of a lance was doubtless first replaced       (Figure 6.2). An experienced spear fisherman will
by a point made of bone, stone or some other hard         know this, but the fish may still escape if the calcu-
natural material, and finally by metal. The simplest       lation of its position is out even by a small amount.
forms of spears are only sticks with a single sharp-      For this reason, for catching fish as well as birds
ened point. As mentioned before, the success of           or bats, the single prong of a spear is inadequate.
spearing is determined by correctly allowing for the      The same is true when spearing blind, e.g. in turbid
                                  Spearing, Harpooning and Shooting Fish                                       55

Figure 6.3 A Danish fisherman spears eels through the
ice on a frozen lake in Jutland.

water, in mud, or under ice (Figure 6.3), when a
single prong will not give much chance of hitting
a fish. Therefore spears are often provided with
several prongs to increase their accuracy (Figure
6.4). The number of prongs varies and their
arrangement can be in a row like a comb or in a
bunch. The latter arrangement seems to be pre-
ferred in tropical areas (Figure 6.5), where many
prongs are fixed around the head of a stick rather
like a yard broom, thus increasing the spear’s effec-
tiveness. Many prongs are the same as a bundle of        Figure 6.4 In every corner of the world fishing spears
                                                         were evolved: (a) simple fish-stick of Guinea; (b) fish
single one-pronged spears.The bundle arrangement         spear with three points arranged as a bundle; (c) trident
is used in some African areas where one person           spear with barbs; (d) Arabian spear of Syria, without
can fish with as many as six spears held in a bundle      barbs; (e) fish spear of Northern Germany; (f) Italian
(MacLaren 1958). In temperate countries such as in       spear for cuttlefish; (g) spear for sponge fishing off the
Europe, spears with prongs arranged in a circle are      coast of Libya.
seldom used (Figure 6.6). The more modern iron
spears, so-called ‘fish irons’, with five, seven or even   can be prevented by barbs. Barbs are a feature used
twelve prongs are frequently found. Very often           not only for fishing spears but also for the con-
the trident can be seen, today more for decoration       struction of various other gear. The barb, however,
than for practical use. This symbol of Poseidon or       is not restricted to fisheries but is an equally impor-
Neptune is simply the ancient tuna spear of the          tant element of hunting gear. Without a barb, a
Mediterranean. Some people think that the trident        spear is more generally called a lance. The fishing
is too inaccurate for fishing (Koenig 1975) and           spear may have a single barb on one side; there may
therefore that its origin lies not in fishery but as a    also exist several such barbs arranged in a row
protective symbol in the form of a spear. Never-         along the point of a spear (Rau 1884). When the
theless, two-pointed spears as well as tridents are      points are arranged in a row all barbs can be
used even today in practical fisheries; although          directed in the same direction (Figure 6.7) or they
there is no doubt that more prongs and points            may be arranged quite arbitrarily. Barbs can be not
invariably give more success.                            only bent to one side but also in pairs, as is usually
   When a fish is speared it can escape from a simple     the case for the point of an arrow. With spears and
point by vigorous wriggling and twisting, but escape     similar gear, a special movable barb can be used
56                                   Fish Catching Methods of the World

                                                          Figure 6.6 European multi-pointed spear with barbed

                                                          (Figure 6.8) which penetrates the body of the prey
                                                          and stays in under tension, thus firmly anchoring
                                                          the spear in place.
Figure 6.5 Multi-pointed fishing spear without barbs as       The range of size of pushed hand spears in fish-
used in many tropical countries.                          eries can be considerable. They can have shafts of
                                                          6, 10 or 12 m long or even more. Very long spears
                                                          are especially useful when fishermen are trying to
                                                          spear at random under ice or in turbid water or
                                                          even at great depths (Figure 6.3). The buoyancy of
                                                          a spear increases with the length of the wooden
                                                          stick and, to overcome this, larger and heavier
                                                          prongs are used in deeper waters (Kishinouge 1941;
                                                          Went 1964; von Brandt 1966), or some extra weights
Figure 6.7 Heads of harpoons made of bone, double-        are added. On the Baltic coast of northern
and multi-pointed as used in Tierra del Fuego.            Germany, long spears are tarred very carefully,
                                                          making them nearly weightless in deep water.
                                                          Therefore it is helpful, when describing spears with
                                                          long shafts, if the weight of the iron prongs and also
                                                          any additional load is given. Note that the points
                                                          and the shaft of a hand spear do not always lie in
                                                          the same line. Because spearing is seldom done
                                                          in a perpendicular direction but more or less
Figure 6.8 Spear with movable barb. The barb will pivot   obliquely, not all points of a spear can work simul-
in the fish or whale when the spear is pulled back after   taneously. For this reason spearheads with a curved
                                                          neck are sometimes used (Figure 6.9). Rarely, bait
                                    Spearing, Harpooning and Shooting Fish                                      57

                                                            they burnt too quickly (Ligers 1953). In the past,
                                                            fishermen in Europe knew which material was the
                                                            best for torches or fire baskets, but nowadays gas
                                                            lamps and electric light have replaced the naked
                                                            flame (Chapter 11).
                                                               Another well-known use of the hand spear in
                                                            fresh water is for eel fishing. This can also be carried
                                                            out with light during the night and, especially in
                                                            northern Europe, by blind spearing under ice in
                                                            wintertime. The inactive eels will be found con-
                                                            centrated around entrances to lakes or rivers or
                                                            streams, or in deep holes near tidal entrances to
                                                            fresh water or estuaries (Lane 1978). To catch the
                                                            eels, a hole is made in the ice and spearing is done
                                                            systematically by pushing the spear into the mud in
Figure 6.9 North European spearhead with curved             a circle (Figure 6.3). Not only spears but also clamps
neck.                                                       (Chapter 7) are used to bring the eels out of the
                                                               Fishing with pushed hand spears is better known
                                                            in sea fisheries where they are used to capture
is used to lure the prey into a position favourable         smaller and slower fish rather than stronger, more
for spearing. Sometimes, the spear itself can attract       valuable ones. In the USA (North Carolina) floun-
fish when plunged several times and at random into           ders are speared in shallow coastal waters (Warlen
the water. Fishes can be attracted into striking            1975). This is a night fishery operated with trans-
range not only by the splash but also by the flash of        portable underwater lamps by wading fishermen.
the spear (Brelsfjord 1946). Sometimes, artificial           Only a short spear of 1–2 m is needed. This can be
baits are used, as in the fisheries of Hong Kong for         an iron rod sharpened to a point at one end, often
catching pomfrets (Liu 1940). The lures are made            fashioned with a barb, but spears with many prongs
of an oval-shaped thin board of any kind of wood,           and barbed points are also used. When a fish is
cut to the approximate shape of a pomfret and               detected, the spear is brought directly over it and
painted white. From five to seven are strung in a            plunged into it with a quick thrust. Unlike the tech-
long line and towed slowly through the water.When           nique described earlier, the fish is speared in the
fish are seen chasing the lures, they are speared or         head region to minimize the damage to the edible
caught by other methods.                                    portion of the fish.
   It has been already stated that spearing can also           An example of a fishery for large sea fish using
be done with artificial light at night (Figure 6.1). A       pushed spears is that for the ocean sunfish, Mola
description of night fishing with a hand spear for           mola. This nearly circular but very flat fish swims
salmon, formerly carried out in Finland (Vilkuna            near the surface in small schools where it can be
1975), says that two men fished together. One oper-          caught very easily. In the Strait of Messina the
ated the boat while the other stood with the spear          fishery for this fish is operated from small motor
behind the light. As soon the fish was seen, it was          boats with a characteristic low mast (see Figure
speared, if possible in its tail so that it could not flap   6.32) which gives a high platform for an observer.
as much as when speared behind its head, when               As soon as the sunfish are seen near the surface the
lifted into the boat. Originally the attracting light       observer directs the boat towards the fish to be
used for this process was torchlight. In the fisheries       speared. The spear is made of an iron tube of about
of many countries torches were made of pine splin-          three metres in length and fitted with seven barbed
ters c. 70 cm long, burning with a small flame. The          prongs. The speared fish is hauled, with the help of
material for them was collected in wintertime. They         the spear, on board the boat. To prevent the loss of
could also be of other resinous wood. Splinters of          the spear a line is run along the shaft connecting it
fir or birch were not considered as good because             to the vessel.
58                                   Fish Catching Methods of the World

Figure 6.10 Fish plummets. Again the need produced
the same answer in different areas of the world: (a)      Figure 6.12 Older European plummets for: (a) flounder;
Mediterranean plumbline of Malta (from Burdon 1956        (b) halibut. (From Duge et al. 1902 with permission).
with permission); (b) Norwegian ‘pigglodd’ (from Brobak
1952 with permission); (c) Japanese ‘yasu’ (from NN
1959–65 with permission).                                 so-called plummet is tied instead of having a spear-
                                                          head. Plummets are heavy weights, mostly made of
                                                          metal but also sometimes weighted with stones, with
                                                          one or more barbed points, which can be dropped
                                                          down in deep water to pierce flat fish and other crea-
                                                          tures lying on the bottom. Quite remarkable depths
                                                          can be worked successfully with plummets – deeper
                                                          than is possible with any spear, as long as the water
                                                          is transparent enough to allow visual control of the
                                                          plummet. This special form of fishing gear has been
                                                          invented and applied in several parts of the world,
                                                          in east and south-east Asia as well as in northern
                                                          Europe (Figures 6.10–6.12). From the early Euro-
                                                          pean ones some were like short-handled spears or
Figure 6.11 Fish plummet of the Sunda
                                                          clamps with additional weights added (Figure 6.12)
Islands. (Courtesy of the Museum für Völk-
erkunde, Berlin-Dahlem.)                                  operated over a roller on the gunwale (Duge et al.
                                                          1902). In general, plummets are operated from a
                                                          boat, directed by a fisherman controlling the opera-
6.2 Fish plummets                                         tion with a looking-glass. Therefore clear water is
                                                          needed to fish with the gear in anything other than
As mentioned before, the length of a pushed spear         shallow depths. An interesting variation of this
is limited in deeper water by the buoyancy of the         method is used by the fishermen of the South Pacific
wooden shaft. Moreover, a spear several metres            where a diver guides the plummet to catch sea
long is difficult to handle in a small boat. Thus other    cucumbers in deeper waters (Figure 6.13) (South
devices are needed to bring up the prey from the          Pacific Commission 1974).
bottom. This can be acheived with the help of fish
plummets or plumb lines (Figures 6.10–6.12). These
are operated according to the principle of the spear-
                                                          6.3 Eel combs
ing gear, but the stick is replaced by a rope. Now the    There is a curious group of instruments which are
depth of the fishing water is no longer a problem. A       considered as a special form of rake, or horizontal-
rope can be almost weightless, is easy to store, and      working, multi-pronged gear, wounding and
can be as long as needed. On the end of this line, the    piercing the prey like a spear (Znamierowska-
                                   Spearing, Harpooning and Shooting Fish                                       59

                                                          Figure 6.14 Eel combs: (a) Finnish eel comb (from
                                                          Jankó 1900 with permission); (b) ‘Hölger’ from the
                                                          German Baltic coast (from Znamierowska 1957 with per-
                                                          mission); (c) Japanese eel fork with two points; (d) Thai
                                                          eel fork with one point (from NN 1953 with permission).

Figure 6.13 A diver directing a plummet to catch sea
cucumber in deeper water off the Solomon Islands.
(Courtesy of South Pacific Commission 1974.)

Prüfferowa 1957). The so-called eel rakes or eel
combs, which are comb-shaped implements espe-
cially useful in eel fishing, are mentioned here
together with spears and other wounding gear. In
operation they are pressed into the mud and pierce
the fish with their prongs when towed sideways.
   Two types of this gear are fairly widely distrib-
uted: the eel combs found in Europe, and the
Chinese form found in east and south Asia (Figures
6.14 and 6.15). The European eel comb is an iron
                                                          Figure 6.15 Fish scythe and eel comb of Northern
comb with many prongs, often of uneven length and         Germany.
mostly without barbs. In the past this instrument
(which is now forbidden) was handled from a sailing
boat by being pressed vertically into the sea-bed         escape. This, together with the fact that very young
mud with the prongs facing forward while the boat         eels were also pierced, caused the implement to be
was slowly sailed on. A precondition for the suc-         condemned and banned many years ago. Owing to
cessful use of that instrument was, of course, that the   its simple design, however, it has been used again
bottom was soft and even. This comb, named the            and again (Benecke 1881), very often by crews of
‘Hölger’, was used off the east Friesian coast and in     sailing transport vessels who were not entitled to
the waters of the Baltic bays. The fisherman holding       fish in territorial shallow waters, but who sought a
the handle immediately felt when an eel was pierced       private fish meal using their eel combs.
by the comb scraping the ground and hauled up the            Asiatic eel forks, with only one or two sharp
implement, but often the injured eel was able to          prongs on a handle of up to 5 m long, resemble
60                                  Fish Catching Methods of the World

the European eel combs (Figure 6.14). They are          can move. There are better and more powerful
handled in the same manner but without the move-        instruments for increasing the speed of a spear and
ment of sailing. The fisherman presses the fork into     its piercing power, but they will be mentioned later,
the soft ground where he suspects an eel to be and      because nowadays they are used mostly with har-
moves it through the mud by bending the upper           poons (see Section 6.6).
part of his body backwards. Such forks are still in        With the exception of the shorter length, the con-
use in Japan and Korea and as far away as Thailand.     struction of a spear or dart thrown by hand or with
Such comb-like gear has also been used in open          a spear thrower is the same as for a pushed spear.
waters by moving the implement like a scythe            The only difference is that a pushed spear remains
through dense fish schools, piercing with their sharp    in the hand of the hunter and generally will not be
pointed teeth any fish which came within their           lost, but a thrown spear, especially when thrown
range (Figure 6.15). Such scythes for fishing are        into water, can get lost or become unreachable.
known in northern Europe but they may be used           Therefore the thrown spear is usually fastened to a
much more widely. Rau (1884) reported that,             rope (retrieving line) of suitable length. It can thus
according to the notes of James Cook (1728–1779),       be recovered after being shot, especially if the shot
he met some people in the Pacific Ocean fishing           fails. This ability is particularly valuable to the fish-
with an instrument 6 m long similar to an oar.About     erman because one cannot traverse water as easily
two thirds of its length was set with sharp bone        as one can land, but with a retrieving line the spear,
teeth and it was used to attack smaller fishes by        with or without the prey, can be recovered even
striking it into the schools of fish so that some were   under difficult conditions. A simple form of opera-
caught either upon or between the device’s teeth.       tion is to fix a line of c. 10 m near the head of the
                                                        spear, to throw the spear with the right hand, to
                                                        guide the retrieving line with the left, and to hold
6.4 Fishing with thrown spears                          fast the end of this line with the foot (Ligers 1953).
The reach of spears pushed by hand can be               Interestingly, retrieving lines for thrown spears
extended by their being used as casting gear. For       (and also harpoons) were already known in early
casting by hand to be reliable the spear shafts must    Egyptian fisheries and even before this.
not exceed a certain length. The relation of spear         Some African peoples can operate not only a
length and its reach regulates the size of javelins     single spear but many at the same time. It has been
used in sport. The reach of a spear thrown to           reported from the fishery in KwaZulu Natal that
capture fish or prey can considerably increase by        small spears used by children are also employed
the use of a casting mechanism. Such casting mech-      by men who use a handful at a time and throw
anisms or catapults again have an influence on the       them blindly into the marshes and marginal aquatic
form of the spear. The catapults or throwing sticks     growth (Tinley 1964). In localities where crystal-
of the Inuits and Australians, for instance, provide    clear shallows often occur next to deep water, men
the spear with a much longer flight and greater          and/or boys walk and run through the water in a
striking power than mere casting by hand. The           line and throw their spears at any fish they see.
spear thrower – also called a throwing board,
propulseur or atlatl (the Aztec name for this throw-
ing gear) – is c. 0.5 m long and works like a lever,
                                                        6.5 Fishing with bow and arrow
giving the spear more speed. This implement was         A spear in the form of a small arrow can be shot
invented in the middle or later Palaeolithic times      from a bow. The bow differs from all other weapons
and this knowledge was spread all over the world.       in being able to store the energy supplied by human
In tropical areas, throwing boards are made of a        muscles. On release, this pent-up energy is suddenly
bamboo tube at the end of which is cut a hook to        transferred to the arrow, which can thus be pro-
engage the shaft (Thiel 1977). The throwing board       jected at much higher velocity than that at which it
increases the efficiency of the spear immensely.         can be thrown by hand even with a spear thrower
However, the propelling power is supplied by the        (Marcotti 1958; Rausing 1967; Helgeland 1975).
human arm, which means that the velocity of the         No special advice for the construction of bows and
spear is limited by the speed with which the arm        arrows formerly operated in fisheries has been pub-
                                  Spearing, Harpooning and Shooting Fish                                    61

                                                         Generally, slow-swimming fish were preferred for
                                                         this method and shots were usually made from c.
                                                         5–6 m away, as shooting a fish from a greater dis-
                                                         tance than this was considered too difficult. As in
                                                         spearing, shooting fish with a bow and arrow
                                                         requires clear water and an appropriate allowance
                                                         for the refraction of light. The young men of the
                                                         Amazon region learn accuracy by first holding the
                                                         arrow point in the water when they are shooting to
                                                         gain experience in allowing for the refraction of
                                                         light (Professor Sioli in Plön. pers. comm.). To over-
                                                         come this difficulty the use of multi-pointed arrows
                                                         has already been mentioned. This problem is also
                                                         the reason why fishing with a bow and arrow is
                                                         seldom carried out during the night.
                                                            Not only fish are shot with bow and arrow; but
                                                         sometimes also crabs and other water animals, even
                                                         sea mammals, are hunted. In Mesopotamia, Tiglat-
                                                         pileser I (1170–1090 BC) claimed to have killed not
Figure 6.16 Fish bow and arrow with float and retriev-    only wild bulls, elephants and lions with bow and
ing line. Kerala, southern India (1973).                 arrow, but also from his ship off Arvad on the
                                                         Syrian coast (Rausing 1967), a ‘nose-blower’, which
                                                         is considered to have been some form of whale.
lished. Arrows seem to have been used longer in             The crossbow, which was developed from the
fisheries than for hunting. When used in fisheries         simple bow, has also been used to shoot fish. In
they have no feathers, or only very small ones, on       Europe, crossbows replaced simple bows by the
their trailing end.Also the feathers are not arranged    12th century. Until recently, crossbows were known
in such a manner as to give stability and some twist     on the Philippines in the Laguana de Bay (Umali
to the arrow in flight. For the same reasons men-         1950), in western Africa (Hornell 1950), and also in
tioned for spears, arrows can have more than one         Norway for shooting whales with poisoned arrows.
point to increase their chances of impaling a fish        In the Fishery Museum of Bergen, Norway, a cross-
(Andreska 1976; Thiel 1977). Shooting fish with           bow can be seen which was used during World War
arrow and bow is widely known in many areas such         II when guns could not be used to kill whales. Poi-
as Oceania, southern India (Figure 6.16), Nepal and      soned arrows were used which did not need much
Sri Lanka, Burma, on the Andamans (Hornell               power because the arrows did not have to penetrate
1950), in Indonesia and in Formosa (Buschan 1935).       to a vital area in order to kill; sometimes a mere
The bow and arrow are also known in the New              scratch is enough (Rausing 1967). The crossbows
World as used by the Indian fishermen of North and        used in southern India are especially interesting
South America on the Pacific coast (Rostlund 1952),       because they are the same as those used in Europe
but in particular by the native fishermen of the          in the 16th century, and were then taken to India
Amazon basin in Brazil and Guyana.Alexander von          by the Portuguese (Figure 6.17). An old French
Humboldt observed and recorded that he saw               publication of 1834 (Figure 6.18) shows a very
Indians on the Orinoco River shooting fish with           elegant crossbow (arbalète) with a very long arrow,
bow and arrow. Fishermen in the Xingu area are           at least 1.20 m long with a strong iron point espe-
said to be able to strike a fish at a distance of 100 m   cially used for catching frogs, Rana esculenta, in
– which may be doubtful! In central Asia, fish were       freshwater ponds (Pesson-Maissonneuve 1834).
shot with arrows up until the 19th century (Jankó           With arrows, as with thrown spears, when shoot-
1900; Sirelius 1934). Bows have also been used to        ing from the shore into swamps or deeper water,
catch fish in Europe – pike and carp, as well as          the problem is to retrieve the missile, especially
salmon and huchen, were caught in this manner.           when it hits prey. The problem is resolved in the
62                                   Fish Catching Methods of the World

Figure 6.17 Striking and throwing spears, useful as
they were, led to the crossbow being adapted for throw-
ing harpoons at fish. This specimen is from the Malabar
coast, southern India. Under the top of the crossbow is
a small bamboo box for the retrieving line.
                                                          Figure 6.19 American fish bow with retrieving line (from
                                                          Helgeland 1975 with permission).

                                                          (Figure 6.16). Interestingly, the native fishermen of
                                                          North America and Alaska (Rostlund 1952) also
                                                          had such retrievable arrows as did some Oceanic
                                                          fishermen (Koch 1965). Even the Bushmen in
                                                          southern Africa were originally familiar with these
                                                          fishing methods before being forced into the desert.
                                                          They fastened a light line to the shaft of the arrow,
                                                          which they shot at small surface fish (Carter 1965).
                                                          Small harpoons can even be shot by bow and cross-
                                                          bow and these are considered in the next section.
                                                             In modern times, archery became a sport influ-
                                                          enced by Japanese customs. In the USA, hunting
                                                          and fishing with bows has been revived. Very
                                                          modern and expensive bows are used for bow
                                                          fishing in fresh and salt waters (Figure 6.19)
                                                          (Helgeland 1975). The fibreglass arrows are fitted
                                                          with easily removable heads, which may be double
                                                          barbed. The fishing targets are mostly coarse fish
                                                          according to the different laws in the American
                                                          states. These may be carp and eels as well as sharks
                                                          and rays, migrating saltwater fish (when found in
                                                          inland waters) but also frogs (e.g. bullfrogs) and
                                                          turtles (e.g. soft-shelled ones).

Figure 6.18 Old French crossbow (from Pesson-             6.6 Harpooning
Maissonneuve 1834 with permission).
                                                          Beside barbless one-pointed lances, and spears
                                                          (with many points mostly with one or more barbs
same manner as with thrown spears. A retrieving           each; with or without retrieving lines), harpoons are
line is tied to the end of the arrow and the other        widely used in fisheries. This gear has replaced the
end to a float or to the bow. Figure 6.19 shows such       older spears in many instances and is today known
an arrangement for retrieving the arrow, just like        not only in small-scale but also in large fisheries,
the children’s bow still used in southern India           and in sport fishing.
                                    Spearing, Harpooning and Shooting Fish                                         63

                                                       Figure 6.20 Special points for harpoons: (a) for turtles in
                                                       Madagascar (from von Brandt 1964 with permission); (b)
                                                       Japanese trident harpoon with electrified points.

Figure 6.21 Example of the rigging of a Chinese harpoon. The iron point is held by the harpoon line to the shaft of
the harpoon by knot (a). When the point is in the prey, knot (a) is loosened, separating the point of the harpoon from
the shaft, but the shaft is also fixed on the harpoon line by knot (b) so as not to be lost. (Courtesy of Captain L. C.
Hu, Christchurch.)

   Harpoons differ from spears in that the point             of the shaft, both connected to the harpooner
becomes separated from the shaft when it pene-               (Figure 6.21). It is much simpler to use one line con-
trates the victim, and the shaft floats to the surface        nected with the head or heads of the harpoon and
– both the point and the shaft remaining connected           running through a ring on the shaft to the hands of
by a line (Figure 6.20). The shaft floating to the            the fisherman. Between the harpoon head and this
surface tells the fisherman where his victim is and           ring on the shaft, the line has a stopper, so that when
acts as a brake or retarder to impede the fish’s flight        this line is retrieved, not only the harpoon head but
and tire it.                                                 also its shaft is hauled in (Figure 6.22). Modern har-
   The fisherman then follows to pick up the floating          poons, especially when shot with rifles or guns, are
shaft and to haul it in together with the harpoon line       like thrown spearheads because there is no separa-
connected to the separated harpoon head in the               tion between the head and the shaft. Nevertheless,
prey. In this case after shooting there is no direct         the traditional name harpoon has continued in use,
contact between prey and fishermen. It may be                 e.g. in whaling (see Section 6.7).
better not to lose such contact, as with a thrown               The shaft of the harpoon is shorter than that of
spear which remains directly connected to the fish-           the spear and the detachable point is necessarily
erman by a retrieving line.Therefore harpoons often          barbed (Kishinogue 1941). Often a movable barb
have two separate lines; the harpoon line tied to the        like a toggle is used (Figure 6.8), reducing the risk
head of the missile, and the retrieving line to the end      that the harpoon may be pulled out. Generally,
64                                   Fish Catching Methods of the World

                                                         Figure 6.23 Simple types of catapults with rubber
                                                         bands: (a) Japanese underwater gun with elastic cord
                                                         (from NN 1959–65 with permission); (b) Hawaiian sling
                                                         gun (from Ivanovic 1954 with permission); (c) harpoon
                                                         used by divers of Botel Tobago (Lan Yü, pers. comm.).

Figure 6.22 Retrieving line of a harpoon connected not
only with three points but also by a stopper (a) and a
ring (b) with the shaft of the harpoon.

harpoons have one point only but there are a few
two- and three-pointed types (Figure 6.20b). Nowa-
days the points are made of iron but points made
of bone and the horns of deer and reindeer were
known and handed down from ancient prehistoric
fisheries (Krause 1904). Inuits are the masters of
harpooning and in the past their gear was made
partly from walrus ivory and their line from walrus
rawhide. Archaeologists consider these lines as the
strongest known before the invention of the steel        Figure 6.24 Harpoons used by sport divers: (a) French
cable. It has therefore been suggested that the          elastic-powered harpoon (from Ivanovic 1954 with per-
harpoon line was actually the first line to be used       mission); (b) spear gun powered by compressed air
                                                         (USA); (c) Italian spear gun with gas propulsion.
in fisheries.
   Like lances and spears, harpoons can be pushed
or thrown by hand as well as by various casting          by a line as is usually the case (Ivanovic 1954). The
mechanisms. In extreme cases, harpoons can               simple harpoons with an elastic pull and a trigger
become quite small projectiles (see Figure 6.40).        to release the arrow at the right moment, the so-
Harpoons have become a favourite gear for under-         called ‘fish guns’, have been adopted especially in
water fishing, although they are illegal in many          south-east Asia from the Ryukyu Islands to the
countries. Commercial fishing divers as well as           Philippines in the 20th century (Hart 1956). Nowa-
sports divers use harpoon guns. There are very           days fish guns are even used by the natives of the
simple catapults propelling a projectile towards the     most remote fisheries for shooting fish from both
fish by the action of stretching a piece of rubber        above and below the surface of the water (de Beau-
(Figure 6.23).                                           clair 1957). Sport divers use more sophisticated
   This projectile can be a spear when released          underwater spear guns for propelling the spear by
freely (seldom) or a harpoon connected to the gun        means of a metal spring or powered by compressed
                                  Spearing, Harpooning and Shooting Fish                                    65

Figure 6.25 Hunting sperm whale with the hand-thrust harpoon of the Azores. (Photo: T Housby, Lymington.)

air and gas springs or even real shotguns with a pro-      The first whalers in the Azores were Basque fish-
pelling charge (Figure 6.24). Over water, harpoon        ermen who arrived in the 15th century. From the
guns with particularly strong missiles are required      18th century to the beginning of the 19th century,
for killing large fish such as tuna, swordfish, shark      American whaling fleets with their typical Indian
or sea mammals such as porpoises, whales or seals.       canoes visited the Azores every year to catch sperm
   Especially well known in some areas around the        whales. Both have influenced the catching method,
North Sea were the Norwegian rifles for shooting          which was operated in the 20th century (though on
harpoons to catch tuna.                                  a much reduced scale). The whale is located by one
                                                         of the observation points (vigias) and the catching
                                                         canoes are towed by a motor vessel near to the
6.7 Whaling                                              place where the animal may be expected. Each
In commercial fisheries harpooning is no longer           canoe has two or four harpoons. Two form one set,
used, except for large species having high individual    connected with each other by lines stored very care-
value (Cordini 1955), owing to the cost of gear and      fully in two wooden barrels (Figure 6.26). Only
fishing vessels.The most important harpoon in com-        when the canoe can come within a distance of 2–3 m
mercial fisheries is the whaling harpoon. In 1660 the     of the whale can one or both harpoons be pushed
Dutch whalers first ceased throwing their whaling         – with both hands. Much power is necessary
harpoons by hand and began firing them from blun-         because only when the head of the harpoon has
derbusses. The fishermen of the Azores and                pierced the blubber can it be anchored in the flesh
Madeira even in the 20th century used hand-pushed        of the animal without being pulled out again. Here
harpoons to catch sperm whales (Figure 6.25).            should be mentioned that originally the hand-
66                                   Fish Catching Methods of the World

                                                          Figure 6.27 Norwegian harpoon gun for catching small
                                                          types of whales. (Photo: G. Hass 1942.)

                                                          made the first attempt to design a whaling harpoon
                                                          in the head of which was placed a grenade. The idea
                                                          was that when the grenade exploded the whale
                                                          would be killed quickly. The black-powder bomb
                                                          in an 1870 shoulder gun became the main whale-
                                                          hunting weapon of the Inuit. At the beginning of
                                                          the 1870s, Foyn owned a factory for whale process-
                                                          ing, operating two small steamers. These catching
                                                          boats were already fitted out with a gun turntable
Figure 6.26 Position of the harpoons and their lines in   of 360° for shooting the harpoon (Figures 6.27 and
the bow of a canoe used for catching sperm whales         6.28). With this newly developed equipment Foyn
off the Azores in 1962. (From von Brandt 1973 with
                                                          was successful in the seasons of 1873 and 1874
                                                          (Marshall 1904). Harpoons with grenades are also
                                                          used today, but the form has been changed. The
                                                          pointed grenades (Figure 6.28) have been replaced
thrown harpoon with strong barbs did not kill, but        by truncated ones. The reason is that pointed
simply caught the whale on a line to prevent its          grenades sometimes can pierce the tail of the whale
escape. The line of the harpoon remained attached         without exploding or be bounced off the back of a
to the vessel and the whale could tow the boat like       diving whale.
a retarder, maybe for hours. The killing of the whale        Otherwise the construction of the whaling
was, and is, done by hand with a long barbless spear      harpoon has not changed much since the times of
or lance, piercing the lungs or heart of the animal.      Foyn. It has an iron head with two movable barbs,
   In 1731 the first whaling canoe was constructed,        spreading in the body of the whale by a pull on the
but it was not until 1772 that it was generally used      line, and firmly connected to the shaft (Figures 6.29
(Weber 1938). In 1864, the Norwegian Svend Foyn           and 6.30). Attached to the shaft is the whale line,
                                  Spearing, Harpooning and Shooting Fish                                     67

Figure 6.28 Whaling gun with pointed grenade (Photo:
Erste Deutsche Walfang Gesellschaft.)

                                                       Figure 6.31 Leading a harpoon line from the gun (1)
                                                       over a block (2) hanging on the mast and connected to
                                                       a tension absorber (3). The line is coiled with the whale
                                                       winch (4) and stored in the hold of the vessel.

                                                       called a retrieving line, beginning with what is
                                                       known as a ‘forerunner’ made of manila or
                                                       polyamide of best quality, 100–120 m long. The
                                                       forerunner is connected with the real whale line
                                                       running up to an accumulator on the mast (Figure
                                                       6.31). This is an arrangement for adjusting differ-
                                                       ences in the pull on the line, to prevent breaking by
Figure 6.29 Icelandic whale gun in Reykjavik (1970).   sudden shocks. From here the whale line is led
                                                       round the drum of the whale winch and then down
                                                       to the hold of the vessel. So the full retrieving line,
                                                       now with a total length of 1000 m, became a deci-
                                                       sive – and expensive – part of whaling equipment.
                                                          Much greater success in killing whales has swiftly
                                                       been achieved by the use of electrified harpoons.
                                                       Electrical killing of whales is much more satisfac-
                                                       tory than by using grenade harpoons which can
                                                       cause tearing or infection of the interior parts of the
                                                       animals. Electrical harpoons are equipped with a
                                                       cable which conducts the current into the body of
                                                       the whale. The particular species of whale, the age
                                                       of the animal, and its physiological condition all
                                                       have a bearing on the success of catching and killing
                                                       by electricity. Using electrified harpoons avoids
Figure 6.30 Harpoons on an Icelandic whaler. The       the destruction of the intestines and blood vessels
harpoon heads are stored separately (1970).
                                                       caused by the explosion of a grenade (Schubert
68                                   Fish Catching Methods of the World

1955). Killing whales by electricity dates back to         is attached to a float (formerly seal skin, now
experiments first carried out in the 19th century.          plastic).
   The whaling harpoon is also an example of the              The float replaces the shaft of the harpoon or the
way in which the most primitive fishing gear,               retarder. Then a bomb can be shot with a shoulder
like the original fishing spear, can be developed to        gun into the whale and if properly placed may kill
become a fishing instrument of the greatest impor-          the whale. Otherwise a further shot with the shoul-
tance in the modern fishing industry. Commercial            der gun may be necessary to finish off the whale.
whaling as a large-scale business is diminishing
owing to declining stocks of whales and for this
reason hunting some species of whales, or in some
                                                           6.8 Harpooning swordfish
areas, is forbidden. Even the old coastal whaling          Swordfish fishing is known not only in the
is diminishing for the same reason. Nevertheless,          Mediterranean but also on both sides of the
some exceptions are made for the Indians of Alaska         Atlantic; off the coasts of California, Peru and
and inhabitants of the Aleutians, and the Inuits,          Chile, as well as in Japanese waters (Steuben &
who were allowed to continue traditional whaling           Krefft 1978). Swordfish are mainly taken by hand-
for their own benefit (Fiscuss & Marquette 1975).           thrown harpoons, a technique which is also used for
Their aboriginal technique of whaling is a combi-          catching other fish. The following example is based
nation of tradition and modern equipment. They             on a fishery for swordfish and tuna in southern Italy
use harpoons and bombs, which have continued               between the Calabrian coast and Messina, Sicily.
in use almost unchanged since their introduction           This fishery developed quickly in the last century.
by commercial whalers in the late 19th century.            The original size of the vessels used was not much
They hunt from skin-covered boats, the old umiaks,         more than that of rowing boats with small masts –
and also from wooden and aluminium boats – all             not so different from the boats still used for sunfish
of which are now fitted with outboard motors.               spearing (Figure 6.32). The size of vessel gradually
When the harpoon is fastened in the whale the line         increased up to 20 m long. This fishery was influ-

Figure 6.32 Boat with lookout for spearing sunfish in the Strait of Messina (1979).
                                    Spearing, Harpooning and Shooting Fish                                        69

Figure 6.33 Italian vessel for spearing swordfish and tunny in the Strait of Messina (1979). Note the elevated lookout
and the spearman on an extended bowsprit.

enced by other fishing techniques, as can be seen            pooner as close to the fish as possible before the
from older literature (Gudger 1940, 1942; Sund-             arrival of the vessel’s hull (Figures 6.33 and 6.34)
strom 1957; Coggins 1967; Ligreci 1967; Blair &             (Frey 1971). This principle was also used on vessels
Ansell 1968). The Italian swordfish industry in the          for harpooning sharks off California (Figure 6.35).
Strait of Messina used characteristic vessels with a        Taiwan Chinese used this principle for catching
very high mast and a very long bowsprit (Figure             marlin during the winter season (Figure 6.36). In
6.33). The mast, the so-called ‘antenna’, roughly in        this instance two harpooners stand side by side,
the centre of the boat with a lookout for one to four       secured to the platform of the extended bowsprit
observers or ‘speculatores’, can have a height of up        by sticking their feet into loops and operating a
to 30 m and more. This very much elevated crow’s            long harpoon with three points, the overall length
nest permits a greater field of vision for spotting          being >4 m.
fins. The boats are steered by a simple arrangement             In the Italian swordfish fishery, a bifurcated
of lines from the crow’s nest. The motors are also          harpoon with two detachable harpoon points, each
regulated from the same position by a similar               with two or four movable barbs (Figure 6.37) was
arrangement. The boats have two motors (each                used.
100–150 hp) with one propeller each which give the             When catching large tuna with the same vessel, a
boats not only a high speed but also the necessary          single-pointed harpoon is preferred. The harpoon
flexibility and manoeuvrability.                             has a shaft made of an iron tube of up to 4 m long.
   As mentioned before, the vessels have a remark-          The two heads of the harpoon are tied to a line with
ably long bowsprit, or ‘passeralla’, ending with a          two branches (Figures 6.38 and 6.39). As soon as a
small ‘pulpit’ for the harpooner or striker to stand        fish is hit, the heads break from the shaft and the
on. The reason for this platform, swinging more             hunting line from the harpoon heads runs out. A
than 30 m in front of the vessel, is to place the har-      large plastic buoy marks the way of the line and
70                                   Fish Catching Methods of the World

Figure 6.34 On an Italian swordfish vessel. In the foreground, storage of different types of spears. The harpooner
stays ready for throwing in the ‘pulpit’ of the long bowsprit (1979).

then one or more iron barrels (formerly wooden            Thailand and southern India (Figure 6.40). It seems
kegs) are thrown overboard. By this method the            that blowguns were also known for fishing in the
stricken fish quickly tires itself out. The separated      Philippines (Umali 1950). The blowgun consists
shaft is hauled in by the retrieving line. Barrel, buoy   of a tube made from bamboo or similar material
and fish are towed by a small rowing boat to the           and with a mouthpiece, sometimes decorated in an
vessel and hauled on deck by a winch. It may be           artistic manner. The tube has a length of c. 1.8 m
added that a harpooner will only strike fish of a rea-     into which a small harpoon is so fitted that it com-
sonable size, meaning that fishing with spears and         pletely closes the pipe with a tassel at the end from
harpoons is not carried out in an indiscriminate          which one blows (Figures 6.40 and 6.41). To fill out
manner. Therefore, spearing and harpooning can be         the space between arrow and tube completely, and
considered fishing methods that have a good degree         in addition to the tassel, a netting yarn is wound
of selectivity.                                           very carefully around the shaft of the little harpoon,
                                                          with the tassel on the one end and the detachable
                                                          point on the other. Although mostly called an
6.9 Fishing with blowguns                                 ‘arrow’, the missile of the blowgun used in the fish-
Generally speaking the blowgun is known as gear           eries of southern Asia is a true, but very small,
used for hunting birds in the virgin forests of           harpoon c. 15 cm long.
Central and South America and of southern Asia.              The operation of the blowgun in fisheries is the
But this gear is used just as frequently for fishing in    same as in hunting; the arrow is forced out of the
                                                        Figure 6.35 Californian vessels with long bowsprit and
                                                        high lookout for spearing sharks (1962).

Figure 6.36 Chinese vessel with two harpooners for spearing marlin around Taiwan. (Courtesy of International Com-
mission on Rural Reconstruction, Taipei.)
72                                  Fish Catching Methods of the World

                                                        6.10 Shooting fish
                                                        Fish shooting includes some of the fishing tech-
                                                        niques mentioned before in which spears or har-
                                                        poons are propelled by rifles or guns. Fish shooting
                                                        also includes a technique designed not to wound or
                                                        kill the fish, but to stun it by the shock of the bullet
                                                        hitting the water near its head (Chapter 5).
                                                           In some cases rifles are also used to kill fish
                                                        caught by another method; to avoid a long struggle
                                                        and/or the fish’s escape by, for example, breaking
                                                        the line by which it is hooked. In the Danish fishery,
                                                        tuna caught by line have sometimes been killed by
                                                        shooting, and the same method is known in shark
                                                        fishing. As soon as the fish can be gaffed, it is killed
                                                        by shooting (Steuben & Krefft 1978). Today most
                                                        people will not agree to porpoises being killed by
                                                        shooting. Dolphins are mostly protected, but Italian
                                                        ‘sports fishermen’ have said that every year they
                                                        have killed many dolphins off the Ligurian coast by
                                                        shooting at random into schools of these animals.
                                                        Also the fishermen of the eastern part of the
                                                        Turkish Black Sea coast hunt porpoises (Tursiops
                                                        truncatus and Delphinus delphis) with rifles. Offi-
                                                        cially hunting of porpoises is forbidden in Turkey
                                                        and there is no market for its meat. But the pro-
                                                        tection of porpoises and seals (Phocoena pho-
                                                        coena) led to a much enlarged population of these
Figure 6.37 Italian harpoon for swordfish. (From Ghigi   piscivorous animals and losses of fish for the
1966 with permission.)                                  fishermen were the consequence. Therefore illegal
                                                        hunting is also a practice today (pers. comm. 2000).
                                                        When perched on a small platform on the bow of
                                                        the boat, or on the roof of a wheelhouse, hitting a
                                                        fast-moving animal such as a porpoise is not easy.
                                                        On average, to hit about one in ten is a good success
                                                        rate. These experienced fishermen also shoot large
                                                        fish such as mullet, but they have to be trained from
                                                        their boyhood and become very fond of this prac-
Figure 6.38 Older American swordfish harpoon. (From
Dumont and Sundstrom 1961 with permission.)
                                                        tice. In many cases the harpoon, formerly used for
                                                        hunting larger fish and water mammals, has been
                                                        replaced by rifles. The rifle is now used by the Inuits
tube by a strong blow. When the little arrow            when hunting seals. Also crocodiles are no longer
(harpoon) has pierced a fish, the point will be sep-     speared but shot in the night with the aid of spot-
arated from the stick which is towed behind the         lights. (There may be some doubt if this can be
fleeing fish like a retarder. The fisherman will try to    included in ‘fish shooting’!) The prey will normally
pick up this floating stick and sometimes a hook is      remain fixed in one spot as long as the spotlight is
fixed to one end of the blowgun (Figure 6.42) to         held steady and if, when hunting from a boat, the
assist in this operation. The floating missile shows     motor does not change pitch and startle the
the position of the prey in the water.                  animal.
                                  Spearing, Harpooning and Shooting Fish                                  73

                                                                         Figure 6.39 Modern harpoon fishing
                                                                         off the coast of North America. (New
                                                                         Foundland Student Handout 2000.)

Figure 6.40 Indian fisherman with blowgun shooting
fish on the Malabar coast, south India.

Figure 6.42 Blowgun of the type used on the Malabar
coast of southern India. At one end the wooden tip is
sometimes wonderfully carved. On the other end is a     Figure 6.41 Harpoons for blowguns from: (a) Thailand;
hook to retrieve the line of the floating harpoon.       (b) (c) south India. All with iron points.
74                                     Fish Catching Methods of the World

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  [in Spanish].                                              Marcotti, T. (1958) Bogen und Pfeile. Munich.
Duge, P., Henking, H. & Wilhelms, O. (1902) Bericht über     Marshall, W. (1904) Die Erforschung des Meeres. In:
  die Internationale Fischerei-Ausstellung in St. Peters-      Weltall und Menschheit IV (ed. H. Kramer), 245–382.
  burg 1902. Berlin.                                         Nishimura, A. (1964) Primitive fishing methods.
Dumont, H. & Sundstrom, G.T. (1961) Commercial                 Ryukyuan Culture and Society, 67–77.
  fishing gear of the United States. Fish and Wildlife Cir-   NN (1953) Handbook of Fishing Gear in Siam. Bangkok
  cular 109.                                                   [in Thai].
Fiscus, C.H. & Marquette, W.M. (1975) National marine        NN (1959–65) Illustrations of Japanese Fishing Boats and
  fisheries service field studies relating to the bowhead        Fishing Gear. Tokyo.
  whale harvest in Alaska, 1974. Northwest Fisheries         Pesson-Massonneuve, M. (1834) Manuel du Pêcheur.
  Center Processed Report.                                     Paris.
Frey, H.W. (ed.) (1971) California’s Living Marine           Rau, C. (1884) Prehistoric fishing in Europe and North
  Resources and their Utilization. California, Department      America. Smithsonian Contributions of Knowledge
  of Fish and Game.                                            XXV, Article I. Washington.
Ghigi, A. (1966) La Pesca. Turin [in Italian].               Rausing, G. (1967) The bow. Some notes on its origin and
Gudger, E.W. (1940) The perils and romance of sword-           development. Acta Archaeologia Lundensia, Ser. 8, 6.
  fishing. The pursuit of Xiphias gladius with the trident      Bonn/Lund.
  in the Strait of Messina. Science Monthly 51, 36–38.       Rostlund, E. (1952) Freshwater Fish and Fishing in Native
Gudger, E.W. (1942) Swordfishing with the harpoon in            North America. Los Angeles.
  New England water. Science Monthly 54, 418–430,            Schubert, K. (1955) Der Walfang der Gegenwart.
  499–512.                                                     Handbuch der Seefischerei Nordeuropas 11, No. 6.
Hart, D.V. (1956) Securing aquatic products in Siaton        Sirelius, U.T. (1934) Jagd und Fischerei in Finnland. Die
  municipality, Negros Oriental Province, Philippines.         Volkskultur Finnlands Vol. 1. Berlin.
                                   Spearing, Harpooning and Shooting Fish                                         75

South Pacific Commission Publications Bureau (1974) A       Vilkuna, K. (1975) Unternehmen Lachsfang. Die
  Handbook for Fishermen. Bêche-de-mer of the South          Geschichte der Lachsfischerei in Kemijoki. Studia
  Pacific Islands. Haymarket/Australia.                       Fennica. Review of Finnish Linguistics and Ethnology
Steuben, K.S. & Krefft, G. (1978) Die Haie der Sieben        No. 19. Helsinki.
  Meere. Arten. Lebensweise und Sportlicher Fang.          Warlen, S.M. (1975) Night stalking flounder in the ocean
  Hamburg/Berlin.                                            surf. Marine Fisheries Review 37 (9), 27–30.
Sundstrom, G.T. (1957) Commercial fishing vessels and       Weber, A. (1938) Die Jagd auf Wale. In: Der neue
  gear. US Fish and Wildlife Service Circular No 48.         deutsche Walfang (ed. N. Peters), 142–152.
  Washington.                                                Hamburg.
Thiel, J.F. (ed.) (1977) Haus (der) Völker und Kulturen,   Went, A.E.J. (1964) The pursuit of salmon in Ireland. Pro-
  Führer 1977: Afrika, Neuguinea, Christl. Kunst. St         ceedings of the Royal Irish Academy 63, Sect. C., No. 6,
  Augustin/Bonn.                                             191–244.
Tinley, K.L. (1964) Fishing methods of the Thonga tribe    Znamierowska-Prüfferowa,       M.     (1957)     Rybackie
  in northeastern Zululand and southern Mocambique.          Narzedzia Kolne w Police i w Krajach Sasiedhich.
  Lammergeyer III (1) 9–39.                                  Studia Societas Scientarum Torunensis Suppl. 4 [in
Umali, A.F. (1950) Guide to the Classification of Fishing     Polish].
  Gear in the Philippines. Fish and Wildlife Service
  Research Report No. 17. Washington.
   Fishing with Clamps, Tongs, Rakes and
              Wrenching Gear

It has already been noted that spears with one or            aging grasping instruments all have the same aim –
more points, without or with barbs, are used for             to pick up the wanted prey in deeper water – but
securing fish and crawfish and also for catching               they are constructed in different ways according to
other aquatic animals such as sponges and sea                the animals or the plants which are to be taken.
cucumbers. This method involves some injury to the
animal being captured and it would be unwise to
use spears to pick up molluscs, sea urchins or small
                                                             7.1 Clamps
crabs. To pick up delicate prey without damage, a            Clamps are well known in many parts of the world,
number of grasping instruments have been devel-              especially for taking mussels out of the water
oped and these enable fishermen to capture aquatic            without injury. The simplest forms are hand-
animals such as mussels, snails and sea urchins. The         operated sticks with one end split into at least two
instruments are usually simple, as complex instru-           branches (Figure 7.2). Mussels, snails, sea urchins,
ments are unnecessary for the prey cannot escape             or any other prey can be jammed between the
and there is usually sufficient time to trap them             branches. To give the grip more security some barbs
properly. When searching for prey in shallow water           can help (Figure 7.2a). Other hand-operated gear is
with the help of a boat, so-called ‘water-searchers’         used by fishermen in the Mediterranean to collect
(Figure 7.1) are commonly used to overcome the               fan mussels. Their implement looks like a two-
refraction of the water surface and are used to find          pronged fork. Big mussels are clamped between the
animals such as octopus, sea urchins and shellfish.           prongs and pulled up from the bottom. The stick
These water-searchers – also called ‘look-boxes’ or          may have a length of as much as 9 m.
‘water-glasses’ – can be a simple box, tube or bucket           Clamps can be used also for catching fish when
made of wood or metal with a bottom of glass and             stronger implements made of iron, looking like
are known in not only coastal waters but also some-          multi-pointed spears, are used. The gear does not
times in fresh water, e.g. in Finland where they are         pierce the fish to avoid damaging the flesh as much
used to locate pearl mussels, Margarita margari-             as possible, but presses it between the more or less
tifera L. To use this equipment the water must be            elastic prongs. To prevent escape, especially in eel
clear and the surface should be smooth. Sometimes            fisheries, the sides of the prongs are barbed or ser-
fishermen spray a few drops of oil, maybe mixed               rated and look like a saw (Figures 7.2 and 7.3).
with sand, on the water surface to quell small waves.        The distance between the prongs can be regulated
   The prey found in this manner can be hauled out           by law. This implement is also known as a spear or
of the water with the help of one of the grasping            fish iron. For fish, pointed spears combined with
instruments mentioned in this chapter. Like pushed           elastic clamps can also be used. The clamps are
spears and harpoons, these instruments are prefer-           like arms guiding the fish on to the central
ably long-handled for operating as deep as possible.         point (Znamierowska-Prüfferowa 1957). Figure 7.4
As for pushed spears, the length of the handle is            shows such grasping or gripping implements with
restricted to what is manageable. These non-dam-             squeezing devices and piercing points, which can be

                           Fishing with Clamps, Tongs, Rakes and Wrenching Gear                              77

Figure 7.1 Bucket with glass bottom operated by a
Greek fisherman of Mithymna, on the island of Mytilini,
searching for sea urchins (1958).

                                                           Figure 7.4 (a) Eskimo spear of Arctic Canada; (b) eel
                                                           spear of the Baltic coast (1970).

                                                           also equipped with barbs and may, in this form,
                                                           wound the prey considerably. A similar implement
                                                           for catching fish was shown (Figure 6.4e) in the
                                                           section on fishing spears. Clamps, like spears, can
                                                           also touch the bottom not vertically but slanting
                                                           at a slight angle. To equalize the movement of the
                                                           prongs, one of the two elastic prongs of the com-
                                                           bined clamp/spear can be shorter than the other.

                                                           7.2 Tongs
                                                           Objects may be taken uninjured from the water
                                                           using tongs, i.e. with instruments provided with two
Figure 7.2 Types of fish clamp: (a) clip of Eskimo clamp    tong-like clasps moving towards each other. Origi-
(from Rau 1884 with permission); (b) fork for shrimps of   nally their form and construction was similar to
Tierra del Fuego (from Gusinde 1946 with permission);
(c) Japanese shellfish clamp (from NN 1959–65 with          the tongs used in any workshop (Figures 7.5 and
permission); (d) eel clamp of northern Europe.             7.6). Later their construction was more adapted to
                                                           fishing conditions (Figures 7.7 and 7.8). Tongs are
                                                           used especially for mussels, and 200 years ago small
                                                           tongs were the main gear of fishermen looking
                                                           for freshwater pearl mussels, Margaritana margari-
                                                           tifera, in some Saxon areas of Middle Europe
                                                           (Figure 7.6) (Rudau 1961). Today tongs with long
                                                           handles are used to bring oysters and other types of
                                                           shellfish to the surface (Figure 7.8). They may be
                                                           cross-shaped forks with two or even several points,
Figure 7.3 Danish clamp with flexible sprung points for     the rigid levers of which – several metres long – are
catching eels (1979).
                                                           operated from a boat (Figures 7.7 and 7.8). The
78                                   Fish Catching Methods of the World

Figure 7.5 Old Danish fishing tongs. (From Olavius

                                                          Figure 7.6 Saxon pearl-fisher with mussel tongs (1726).
                                                          (From Rudau 1961 with permission.)
Figure 7.7 Tongs for gripping: (a) long-handled Japan-
ese type for shellfish; (b) French tongs with a movable
arm for lobsters (from Boudarel 1948 with permission);
(c) Maltese tongs with two movable claws (from Burdon     used on the coast of Chile to collect colonies of
1956 with permission); (d) North American shellfish        mussels.Three people have to operate this gear: one
tongs; (e) Mexican tongs made of two rakes (from
Sanchez 1959 with permission).                            operates the stick of the tong, another its line, and
                                                          the third has to take the mussels out of the cross-
                                                          shaped forks when the gear is lifted up. Also, mussel
deeper the water the more difficult, however, it is to     tongs are used which can be operated by two lines
use tongs with two rigid arms. A depth of 7 m is con-     (Figure 7.7c) which increases the depth that can be
sidered to be the limit of practicability (NN 1953).      reached (de Angelis 1959). The same developments
Tongs can be designed, howver, so that only one side      occurred with this implement as those which led
is rigidly attached to a rod while the other is moved     from the use of spears with a rigid shaft to the adop-
by a line (Figures 7.5 and 7.7). Tongs of this sort are   tion of the fish plummet operated by lines, as
                          Fishing with Clamps, Tongs, Rakes and Wrenching Gear                              79

                                                         Figure 7.9 Tonglike clamp from Indonesia: left,
                                                         stretched; right, closed. (From Yamamoto 1975 with

Figure 7.8 Rake-end, scissor-like tongs are used to
bring mature oysters to the surface by Canadian fisher-
men. (Photo: FAO.)

described in the previous chapter. The line thus
replaces the rod and allows the animal to be grasped
at greater depths than is possible using rigid gear.
This, however, can only be done vertically. Such
tongs are widely used in the mussel fisheries of East
Asia, Europe (mainly Mediterranean but formerly
also on the coast of the North Sea), on the west coast
of North America, and in Central America.                Figure 7.10 Danish mechanical eel clamps from
   The shape of the tongs may differ very widely.        Bornholm Island. (Photo: K. Larsen, Copenhagen.)
They can be made up of two forks, or of two scoop
nets. There is even a report of a type formed by two
short-pointed rakes (Figure 7.7e) (Sanchez 1959)         eel fishery of Bornholm Island. These tongs close
that is used in Mexican fisheries. Essentially the        mechanically by a spring or rubber band when an
shape of the tongs depends on the specific purpose        eel is between their claws and the trigger is set free
for which they are to be used. A gear similar to a       (Figure 7.10) (Larsen 1968). Occasionally rough
double tong is known in Indonesia for grasping           tongs made of wood, short-handled and with strong
mussels seen from the water surface. The gear is         metal teeth, have been used to catch eels, conger
lowered over the mussel with the clasps pressed          and other fish when they are lethargic in wintertime
open and the animal is taken from the bottom when        (Jenkins 1974; Znamierowska-Prüfferowa 1976),
the clasps are closed by a simple mechanism, which       and sometimes heavy damage to the fish cannot be
can be seen in Figure 7.9 (Yamamoto 1975). Not           avoided.
surprisingly, some types of tongs are damaging to          The same may be true for other wooden tongs
the prey. The Danes used mechanical tongs in the         with sharp iron teeth (Figure 7.11) that are used, for
80                                   Fish Catching Methods of the World

                                                         Figure 7.12 Rake for catching edible jellyfish from the
                                                         surface waters off the western coast of Malaysia (1978).

Figure 7.11 Azores tongs with sharp iron teeth to hold
moray eels.

example, by the fishermen of the Azores to hold
and to kill ‘murries’ (Moray eels) that are lifted out
of the water after being caught with hook and line.
These fish have always been considered dangerous.

7.3 Rakes                                                Figure 7.13 Rakes for fishing: (a) simple rake; (b)
                                                         French ‘grappin’ for sea-urchin (from Naintre et al. 1967
Instead of tongs, simple rakes may also be used to       with permission); (c) ‘bull rake’ of the North American
catch the desired aquatic prey. Primitive and also       Atlantic coast for shellfish (from Sundstrom 1957 with
                                                         permission); (d) English mussel rake with bagnet.
modern complicated rakes have already been
mentioned in Chapter 2, dealing with the collecting
fishery. There they are used for raking and digging       rakes to scrape up the floating seaweed stranded
animals hidden in the mud at the bottom. Rakes so        along the beach. There are dredging machines such
described are generally used in seaweed and mussel       as those used off the French coast to collect crusta-
fisheries in different parts of the world (Figure 2.2).   ceous algae like Lithotamnium calcoreum, which
Off the western coast of Malaysia, large-sized edible    can be harvested like sand. But seaweed harvesting
jellyfish are caught with long-handled rakes of a         is mostly concentrated on large sessile algae such as
type formerly used for the harvesting of seaweed         Laminaria sp. for which another method is used.
(Figure 7.12) (Burdon 1954). For deeper water the        With a special implement, operated from a boat, the
handles of rakes can extend to > 10 m. To make the       seaweed is twisted together and removed from the
capture of mussels, sea urchins and so on by rakes       bottom with a sharp jerk. This gear for wrenching
easier, the prongs are either bent, or the rake is       the plants can be an agricultural fork which is
equipped with a collecting bag (Figure 7.13d), but       struck into the bulk of the plants before twisting.
then the gear has already assumed the shape of a         Usually, especially in the Far East, this wrenching
dredge, which is discussed later (Chapter 25).           gear is a stick up to 6 or 7 m long. To facilitate twist-
                                                         ing, the stick has a handle on one end and some
                                                         branches or a spiral on the other (Figure 7.14). To
7.4 Wrenching gear for
                                                         overcome the buoyancy of the wooden stick, some
harvesting seaweed                                       weighting may be necessary (Figure 7.15).
Many methods have been used for harvesting                  A wrenching or twisting method was also known
seaweed and other water plants. Different types          in western Europe in the 19th century, not for har-
of gear can be used such as scythe-like tools for        vesting water plants but for catching the small fish
harvesting sessile underwater algae by divers, and       hidden within them (Chapter 20). In the 1970s in
                         Fishing with Clamps, Tongs, Rakes and Wrenching Gear                                81

                                                       7.5 Further developments
                                                       Of the gear mentioned in this chapter, only those
                                                       used for harvesting mussels and seaweed are of any
                                                       great importance. Like the spearing and shooting
                                                       gear described in the previous chapter, they have
                                                       been invented to extend the range of the human
                                                       arm and to grasp, scrape and secure more than is
                                                       possible with the bare hand.They are thus improved
                                                       auxiliary instruments of the collector and are in the
                                                       early stages of further development. From the prim-
                                                       itive rake, however, the development leads on to the
                                                       creation of the dredge (Chapter 25) and from that
                                                       to the dragged stow net and the trawl (Chapters 26
                                                       and 27). Fishing gear, invented originally for secur-
Figure 7.14 Wrenching gear for gathering seaweed,
                                                       ing small quantities of personal food, has thus grad-
used in Japan and Korea.
                                                       ually been converted into larger gear working on
                                                       the same principles for mass production to supply
                                                       wholesale markets. But this does not mean that the
                                                       simple gear used for gathering has made no further
                                                       progress. Hand-picking and gathering is of some
                                                       value even today, especially for harvesting shellfish.
                                                       Here the simple rake became the basis for a Cana-
                                                       dian development of new harvesters, replacing
                                                       manual methods to some extent and reducing the
                                                       problems created by the lack of manual diggers.The
                                                       simplest and least costly of this new type of devel-
                                                       opment may be the clam rake (MacPhail & Medcof
                                                       1963). As can be seen in Figure 7.16a, these rakes
                                                       have tines which are water jets designed to wash the
                                                       clams out of the sand. The water to operate the rake
                                                       is forced from an engine-driven pump (carried in a
                                                       dinghy) through a hose in the handle of the rake and
                                                       down through the nozzles. A sturdy type of this

Figure 7.15 Russian wrenching gear, with weight to
overcome buoyancy, for harvesting algae. (From
Spakov 1977 with permission.)

France and the USSR the wrenching method for
harvesting seaweed was mechanized by turning the
wrenching or twisting spiral, the ‘scoubidou’ of the   Figure 7.16 Canadian hydraulic gear for clam fishing:
                                                       (a) hydraulic clam rake; (b) hydraulic clam digger. (From
French fishermen, with the help of a motor (see         MacPhail & Medcof 1963 with permission.)
Chapter 30 (Figures 30.12 and 30.13).
82                                     Fish Catching Methods of the World

apparatus can flush clams out of the sand in shallow         Larsen, K. (1968) Amator Fiskeri i Havet. Copenhagen [in
water of up to 50 cm deep. A mixture of water and             Danish].
                                                            MacPhail, J.S. & Medcof, J.C. (1963) A new digger for
sediment is produced and the clams, having slight
                                                              softshell clams. ‘Trade News’, Department of Fisheries
buoyancy, float to the top of the mixture where they           of Canada, March.
can be collected.                                           Naintre, L., Addenio, C.J. & Brunand, T. (1967) La Pêche
   There are more ideas for such types of clam                en Mer. Collection l’escapade.
digger in Figure 7.16b, which shows how a simple            NN (1953) The Commercial Fisheries of Maryland.
                                                              Education Series No. 30.
but useful fishing gear can be the origin of very            NN (1959–65) Illustrations of Japanese Fishing Boats and
modern harvesting machines for fisheries. But there            Fishing Gear. Tokyo.
is one problem. In some countries, such as Malaysia,        Olavius, O. (1787) Oekonomische Reise durch Island
to protect natural and cultured shellfish beds, the            in den Nordwestlichen und Nord-Nordöstlichen
use of mechanical apparatus for clam digging is               Gegenden [translated from Danish into German by
                                                              J. Jasperson]. Dresden & Leipzig.
strictly forbidden.Also, until 1964 manual hydraulic        Rau, C. (1884) Prehistoric fishing in Europe and North
clam diggers were forbidden in Canada by fishery               Amerika. Smithonian Contributions of Knowledge
regulations for the same reason.                              XXV, Article I. Washington.
   Nevertheless, there is no doubt that mechanized          Rudau, B. (1961) Die Flussperlmuschel im Vogtland in
harvesting machines, including those for clam                 Vergangenheit und Gegenwart. Museumreihe H.23,
                                                              Plauen i. Vogtl.
digging, in spite of some temporary and local objec-        Sanchez, P.M. (1959) Breve reseña sobre las principales
tions, will become more important in the future (see          artes de pesca usadas en Mexico. Mexico [in Spanish].
also Chapter 30).                                           Spakov, G.T. (1977) Some problems about the mecha-
                                                              nizaion of laminar harvesting. Rybnoe Hozjajstvo 5, 63-
                                                              65 [in Russian].
References                                                  Sundstrom, G.T. (1957) Commercial fishing vessels and
                                                              gear. US Fish and Wildlife Service, Circular No. 48.
de Angelis, R. (1959) Fishing installations in saline         Washington.
  lagoons. GFCM Studies and Reviews, No. 7.                 Yamamoto, I. (1975) Ketentuan Kerja Buku I, Standard
Boudarel, N. (1948) Les Richesses de la Mer. Paris.           Statistik Perikanan. Jakarta [in Indonesian].
Burdon, T.W. (1954) The fishing methods of Singapore.        Znamierowska-Prüfferowa,         M.   (1957)     Rybackie
  Journal of the Malayan British Royal Asiatic Society 22     Narzedzia Kolne w Police i w Krajach Sasiedhich.
  (2), 5–76.                                                  Studia Societas Scientarum Torunensis Suppl. 4 [in
Burdon, T.W. (1956) A Report on the Fishing Industry of       Polish].
  Malta.                                                    Znamierowska-Prüfferowa, M. (1976) Bemerkungen
Gusinde, M. (1946) Urmenschen in Feuerland. Berlin.           zur traditionellen Fischerei in Polen In: Studien zur
Jenkins, J.G. (1974) Nets and Coracles. Newton                Europäischen Traditionellen Fischerei. (ed. E. Solymos)
  Abbot.                                                      Bajai Dolgozatok 3, 17–34.
             Line Fishing: Basic Implements

In his book Den store Slaederejse [The Great Sledge          Many primitive line fisheries operate in this way. It
Drive], the famous Danish explorer of Greenland,             is a method that will suffice provided the prey main-
Knut Rasmussen, describes how the Eskimos                    tains hold of the bait until it can be pulled from the
caught trout by luring them from their hiding places         water onto the shore or into the vessel. This method
with small fish-shaped lures. The trout were then             is practised not only in commercial fisheries but
caught while their attention was fixed on the bait            also in sport fishing. Crustaceans and molluscs,
(Rasmussen 1946). The fish are taken with a clamp             more than fish, are caught in this manner (Sunder
(see Figure 7.4a) as is done by the Inuits of the            Lal Hora 1935).
Canadian Arctic. The bait serves only for attracting            Crayfish especially can clasp and hold the bait
the fish; subsequently they are clamped, speared or           so fast with their claws that they can be caught in
caught by any other method. It seems that this               this way without any difficulty. In lobster fishing
fishing method has spread all around the northern             at night, a line with a small sinker and sufficient
hemisphere. It is believed that the neolithic hunters        mussel meat attached to it is released from a cata-
of Siberia in the area of Lake Baikal used artificial         maran to the bottom of the fishing ground. As soon
fish-like baits made of stone or bone in the same             as the bite of a lobster is felt, the line is hauled up
manner to attract and catch fish (Okladnikow                  very slowly and the lobster is caught with a scoop
1972).                                                       net before reaching the water surface. This method
   The bait may also be presented to serve directly          is used in many countries. Even today (pers. comm.
for fishing. This is done by securing the bait in such        2000) Finnish fishermen use sticks set with bait for
a manner that the fish can neither carry it away              catching crayfish (Figure 8.1). The stick extends
freely nor escape once they have taken it. So pre-           above the surface of the water and sometimes
sented, we think immediately of the line fishery              leaves are attached whose movements show if a
where these conditions are fulfilled. The principle           crayfish is gnawing at the bait (Lehtonen 1975).This
of line fishing is to offer a partly fixed bait to the         idea is widely known, as shown by the use of a
fish (or any other aquatic or non-aquatic animal              similar method for catching crabs in Hawaii; a bait,
which might be attracted), which accepts it and then         marked by a float, is put on the sea bottom and
finds itself unable to release the bait so that it can        hauled carefully with the help of a scoop net
be lifted from the water together with the bait. This        (Hosaka 1973). The Finns know how to use single
chapter will deal with the different implements or           and multiple lines with bait for catching crayfish.
fishing tackle which may be used to succeed in this           Such lines can be replaced by the long intestine of
method of catching.                                          an animal. The crayfish will take the intestine and
                                                             can be caught. This recalls a strange story told by
                                                             the Greek poet Oppian who lived c. 149–179 AD
8.1 Bobbing                                                  (Oppian 1928). A long clean intestine was used for
To meet this principle, nothing but attractive bait          catching eels. The catching principle was explained
fastened to a line of adequate length is necessary.          by Oppian in the following manner: as soon as an

84                                     Fish Catching Methods of the World

Figure 8.1 Different types of Finnish set lines for fishing
crayfish. Left, bait fixed directly on the stick without any
line. (From Lehtonen 1975 with permission.)

eel begins to swallow one end of the gut, the fish-
                                                             Figure 8.2 Trailing lure known as the ‘swimming rat’ for
ermen blows it up from the other end, so that the            catching octopus in Oceania. (Photo: G. Croom,
eel cannot let go of the intestine! The Finnish              Museum für Völkerkunde, Abt. Südsee, Berlin-Dahlem.)
description of how this method works for catching
crayfish will give a better explanation!
   Not only are crustaceans caught by using a line           for their own benefit with the ‘swimming rat’ lure.
and bait only, but also gastropods. Whelks fasten            To catch the octopus the gear is moved up and
themselves so firmly onto submerged pieces of                 down in a water depth of 20–50 cm to imitate the
crabs by the sucking action of the foot that they can        swimming movements of a rat. If an octopus takes
be drawn with them from the water. Octopi hold so            the gear, it will be killed immediately under water
fast to a supposed prey such as the boat-like lure           by the fisherman pressing his fingers into its head
named ‘specchio per seppie’ provided with mirrors            (von Brandt pers. comm.). Nowadays, this gear is
and towed by Italian and other Mediterranean                 also used in Hawaii, combined with a fishing hook
fishermen, that to catch them is no trouble at all.           in contrast to the other gear discussed in this
Similar gear is the octopus trailing line used in            section which is hookless.
Oceania (Figure 8.2). This gear is made of a large               A much simpler method is used by French fish-
cowrie shell (Cypraea tigris) and a polished lime-           ermen for catching cuttlefish with a hookless line.
stone, fixed together with a wooden stick with the            A small fish is split and attached to a fine nylon
help of fibres of coconuts and hibiscus. This gear            netting yarn. The cuttlefish will attack the bait and
imitates a swimming rat which, according to fisher-           begin to feed even as it is hauled in (Sinsoilliez
men, will be attacked by the octopus as these                1970). The method for catching squid is similar. In
animals are alleged to have hated each other since           the coastal fishery of Dar-es-Salaam a red mullet
time immemorial. Tradition has it that a long time           is tied to a line and thrown out to attract squid
ago a rat wanted to travel from one island to                (Wenban-Smith 1963). When the animal has
another but the distance was large and the rat was           attached itself to the bait, the line is gently drawn
afraid of the long swim. The rat told the problem to         in. In all these cases the animal to be caught is
an octopus offering help. The rat was asked to sit           endeavouring to keep the bait and retain it, even if
on the head of the octopus, which brought the faint-         it is removed from the water together with the bait.
hearted rat safely to the other island. The rat was          It is easy to catch some species of crab, snails or
happy to jump to the shore but then the octopus              octopi in this way by bait alone.
was asked to touch his head. When he did so he                   Attempting to catch fish in a similar manner is
found that the rat had been not clean!                       more difficult. They let the bait go when they are
   Therefore it is not surprising that the octopus           lifted from the water or, feeling some resistance,
hates the rat even today, and fishermen exploit this          they spit it out before they are lifted, and so escape.
                                        Line Fishing: Basic Implements                                        85

                                                          Figure 8.4 Eel bob; 30–40 sand worms threaded
                                                          lengthwise on a twine.

                                                          lines without hooks, but with bait only, should be
                                                          called ‘bait-lines’ (Lundbeck 1972). Even if this des-
                                                          ignation may be the right one, it could be mixed
                                                          with ‘lure-lines’ and ‘luring’, therefore the name
                                                          ‘bobbing’ for this method of fishing has been
                                                          retained. Bobbing as a method for catching fish
                                                          seems to be practised all over the world. Different
                                                          materials are used to make the bob: wool, hemp,
                                                          hair and many others. Bobbing is practised in
                                                          Turkey, by the Australian aborigines (Roughley
                                                          1968) and also in the aboriginal fishery of southern
                                                          Africa (White 1956; MacLaren 1958). The Indians
                                                          of California attached a bundle of vegetable fibres
Figure 8.3 An eel taken by eel bobbing is hauled into a   or human hair to the line, sometimes with a live
wooden box. (From Quedens 1963 with permission.)
                                                          worm fastened to the bundle (Hurum 1977). In eel
                                                          bobbing the bait is either made from a piece of
                                                          meat or more often from lobworms or sand worms,
To prevent escape, the bait can be presented in such      30 to 40 being threaded lengthwise on a piece of
a way that the fish hangs on to the bait involuntar-       twine. This twine can be either single, as is often
ily with its backward-pointing teeth and is thus          made of rough hemp twine, or double. In double
unable to let it go or to spit it out. A clear descrip-   twine, a stronger twine is combined with a rougher
tion of this method was given > 200 years ago in          one such as a woollen thread. Some people think
a German book (Schreber 1772) based on a pub-             that it is essential to use woollen twine. The ‘eel
lication of the famous Frenchmen, Duhamel du              bob’ is ravelled up into a bunch, weighted with a
Monceau and de la Marre (Duhamel du Monceau               lead of 100–500g, and fastened to a strong line at
1769–82; Duhamel du Monceau & de la Marre                 least as long as the pole being used or usually much
1776–79). According to them a bunch of the moss           longer, c. 9–14 m (Went 1944) (Figure 8.4). The bob
used for caulking vessels is fastened at the end of       is lowered into the water until it rests on the bottom
a long line and towed through the water behind a          using a short, strong angling rod of c. 1–3 m, and
vessel. Fish taking this ‘bait’ become entangled by       then it is slowly moved up and down a handbreadth
their teeth and are quickly taken by the fisherman.        over the bottom. If an eel bites it, its incurved teeth
A similar device is well-known today as an ‘eel           become entangled in the rough threads of the bob
bob’, used for eel fishing on dark stormy nights in        long enough for it to be drawn from the water and
north-west Europe (Lane 1978; Münster 1979)               thrown onto the bank. This must, of course, be done
(Figure 8.3). Accordingly this method is known as         very quickly before the eel gets loose. Sometimes
‘bobbing’ or ‘blobbing’. It has been suggested that       an old open umbrella is held upside down under the
86                                     Fish Catching Methods of the World

Figure 8.5 Yarn of silk for fishing Belonidae when towed
by Turkish fishermen in the Bosphorus. The yarn is inge-
niously wound around the hand and tied together for this

Figure 8.6 Spider-web bait designed to entangle the
teeth of fish. This is used on some islands of Oceania.
(Photo: Übersee-Museum, Bremen.)
                                                             Figure 8.7 Gorges were used before hooks: (a) wooden
                                                             gorge hidden in a bait which, when swallowed, is pulled
eel so that it falls into it, as into a funnel, even if it   across the gullet of the fish; (b) gorge from France for
does get loose from the bait. Hobby fishermen                 eel, made of steel.
make eel bobbing bags out of pieces of nylon hose
with bait and weights (Loebell 1966). Turkish fish-           bow, are rowing. The third man in the middle of
ermen practise a more modern form of bobbing                 each of the two boats is responsible for a line by
by ingeniously laying together small bunches of              which the two boats are connected. Usually, five
silk which they use when fishing for garfish in the            baits of spider-web are fixed on this connecting line.
Bosphorus (Figure 8.5). Nowadays this is used more           The bait jumps over the water surface as the boats
by hobby fishermen (pers. comm. 2000).                        are rowed forward, thereby attracting the garfish.
   Another fishery which uses bait into which the             The fish try to take the bait and hang themselves
fish pierces its small pointed teeth is perhaps better        on the line. When the fish is removed the bait can
known. This is the garfish fishery by aborigines in            be used again.
the north of Australia (Roughley 1968). The bait
here is made of a ball of thick spider-web threads
(Figure 8.6) and has the same function as the rough
                                                             8.2 Gorges
twine of the eel bob. The garfish remain hanging              The danger that the fish may let the bait go and
with their small teeth entangled in the spider-web.          escape is, of course, very great even with the
Fishing with spider-web is known in New Guinea,              methods just described. Effort has therefore been
the Solomon Islands and Santa Cruz Islands. The              made to find safety devices which will completely
use of spider-web bait on Santa Cruz island was              prevent the bait from being released by the prey.
described recently. Two boats work together with             The oldest device of that kind is apparently the
three fishermen in each. Two, on the stern and the            gorge (Figure 8.7). This is a small straight or slightly
                                         Line Fishing: Basic Implements                                        87

bent stick, pointed at either end, tied at the middle,     and neighbouring countries (Figure 8.9) as well as
and inserted lengthwise into bait held more or less        from the northern areas of Asia, Europe, America,
parallel to the line. Thus the gorge goes easily into      Africa (MacLaren 1958) and the Arctic (Anell
the fish when it swallows the bait. But when the fish        1955). In Europe, gorges have been used since the
swims away or the line is pulled, the gorge takes up       Palaeolithic period. They were made of wood, stiff
a transverse position in the victim’s throat or belly      grass, bone, horn, flint, and later, up to the present
so that it cannot spit it out. Gorges have been used       time, of metal. Gorge fishing is certainly one of the
in all five continents, not only in fishing but also in      oldest fishing methods of all. Besides the wooden
hunting, especially for taking birds and sometimes         gorge pointed at either end with a line fastened in
also for catching larger beasts of prey.                   the centre, there are also gorges with only one
   Very often gorges and gorge-like devices are used       pointed end and a line fastened at the other end.
for catching crocodiles (Figure 8.8). Gorges used in       Finally there are cross-shaped gorges which spread
line fisheries are especially common from Oceania           open when the line is pulled, and others in the form
                                                           of arrowheads which have the same effect. In books
                                                           on angling, especially in those written in the 19th
                                                           century, there are usually descriptions of how to use
                                                           darning needles for ‘sniggling’ – primarily for eels
                                                           (von Ehrenkreuz 1852; von dem Borne & Quint
                                                           1974). In the French fishery, metal gorges with
                                                           central fastenings were recommended even in the
                                                           middle of the last century for catching eels (Figure
                                                           8.7b) (Geuenich 1940; Renard 1955).
                                                              A special form of this gorge method of fishing
                                                           is the ‘spring angle’, and this was also still used in
                                                           the 1970s in China (Kasuga 1975). The catching or,
                                                           better still, the holding device of the spring angle
                                                           consists of a small bent wooden stick pointed at
Figure 8.8 Mustad double hook for catching crocodiles.     both ends and bound in the bent position. It is either
                                                           covered with bait or the bait is fastened between the
                                                           tied-up sides of the spring gorge (Figure 8.10). As
                                                           soon as the bait is swallowed, the fastening becomes
                                                           loose and the small piece of wood springs open in
                                                           the throat of the fish. This, too, is a gorge, since the

Figure 8.9 Gorge-like implements from Botel Tobago
(Lan Yü) for catching flying fishes (1970). The small yarn   Figure 8.10 Chinese spring gorge for catching carp.
on one end is for fastening the bait.                      (From Kasuga & Osaka 1975 with permission.)
88                                  Fish Catching Methods of the World

elastic material such as bamboo which is used, takes    as a part of a twig with a thorn, can be considered
up that special form. Spring gorges are also known      like a stick with a point or even barb. Maybe man
for hunting and fishing from many widely separated       learned by chance how useful this pointed or
places such as Australia, Indonesia, India, the         barbed stick could be in fishing, but larger ones
Congo, southern France, Alaska and northern             have not been found. Man had to make them
Canada and south-eastern North America.                 himself by joining two pieces of wood together to
                                                        form a compound hook (Figure 8.12). The result is
                                                        not exactly a ‘bent hook’ because the point is
8.3 Forerunners of modern hooks                         attached to the stick at a narrow angle.
The bent hook is another and even better-known             Wooden hooks have been known not only in
device for holding a fish captive once it has taken      small-scale fisheries, e.g. in Scandinavian countries
the bait. The gorge is certainly older than the         from the end of the 19th century (Hurum 1977), but
curved hook. Some people think there could be           also in developed fisheries such as those for stur-
some relation between a W-shaped gorge (Figure          geon, halibut and oilfish (Ruvettus pretiosus). But
8.8) and a curved double hook (see Figure 8.15e).       the problem with wooden hooks, in contrast to
The modern angling hook has probably not devel-         hooks of metal, is that they may float, and this had
oped from the gorge, but was a different solution to    an influence on the construction of fishing gear, as
the same problem. Also the curved hook is not a         will be shown with the sturgeon hooks in Chapter
specific fishing implement. Like the gorge it is also     12. Humans learned to make hooks from materials
used in hunting, especially for catching birds. There   more durable than wood. The hooks, of compound
have been many theories on how the bent fishing          structure or in one piece, were made from shells,
hook, as the basis of modern hooks, came to be
invented. There is some evidence that implements
like a bent fishing hook may originally have been
made of various perishable materials of plant and
animal origin. Hooks of thorn were used. They were
made of small parts of plants with thorns such as
hawthorn (Figure 8.11). These thorn hooks were
still used in Europe up to the last century. They
were even described as being used around the
Thames estuary up to 1895 (Bickerdyke 1895). On
the coast of Wales, wooden hooks made of black-
thorn, Prunus spinosa, were still used in 1929
(Matheson 1929). The thorns were hardened by
baking and were considered ‘fairly effective’ for
longlining. Such a wooden hook, grown naturally

Figure 8.11 Natural thorn hook of a type used in        Figure 8.12 Compound steam-bent halibut hook made
the Towy estuary, Wales. (From Matheson 1929 with       of cedar wood by the Bella Coola Indians in Western
permission.)                                            Vancouver.
                                          Line Fishing: Basic Implements                                        89

                                                             cially human bones, as made by the old-time
                                                             craftsmen of Oceania, are to be found only among
                                                             the carefully protected treasures of fishery collec-
                                                             tions. These hooks, especially the compound hooks
                                                             of Polynesia used for trolling bonito, may be
                                                             among the most highly specialized fishing hooks in
                                                             Oceania (Nordhoff 1930) and, not surprisingly,
                                                             some knowledge of their construction has survived.
                                                             After the end of World War II, compound hooks for
                                                             poling skipjack and small yellowfin were found in
                                                             use on the Gilbert Islands and had a shank roughly
                                                             made of mother-of-pearl and an unbarbed point
                                                             made of plastic material. The hook ended as usual
                                                             had some feathers. In another case, the same trolling
                                                             lure for tuna had a hook made of aluminium from a
                                                             downed World War II aircraft and the twine needed
                                                             for lashing, as well as the decorative ‘feathers’, had
                                                             been replaced by plastic material (Carver 1980). In
                                                             1975, FAO in Rome published a gear catalogue to
                                                             help small-scale fishermen (Nédélec 1975). This
Figure 8.13 Compound hooks used in the spinning              catalogue includes a modern compound hook from
fishery for bonito in Oceania: (a) big hook – the shank
is made of whalebone and mother-of-pearl, the barb of
                                                             Tahiti for pole-and-line fishing for skipjack (Figure
tortoiseshell; (b) hook made of mother-of-pearl; (c) small   8.14). The shank is made of shell, but the earlier
hook made of bone and mother-of-pearl; (d) small hook        form of point is replaced by a long hook of metal
of mother-of-pearl and tortoiseshell.                        fixed to the shank by a synthetic line. A bunch of
                                                             monofilaments forms the lure instead of feathers.
bones and other animal products. Even bent hooks
of stone have been found. In general, compound (or
composite) hooks are considered to be cultural ele-
                                                             8.4 Modern fishing hooks
ments of northern Eurasia (Anell 1955). Their use            Important progress in line fishing came with the
was widely spread and they probably reached their            invention of bronze. Now hooks in many forms
maximum development in the bonito fishery of                  could be made in one piece; compound ones, labour-
Oceania (Lagercrantz 1934). The compound hook                intensive in their construction, were no longer nec-
spread as far as Madagascar. The Oceanian bonito             essary. Metal replaced the former materials. Iron
hooks are of great interest (Figure 8.13) as they            hooks were used for fishing as were hooks made of
combine an attracting lure with a point. The shank           copper or brass. Even hooks made of gold, originat-
of the hook is a glittering lure made of shell and/or        ing from prehistoric times in Europe or from pre-
bone; the point is sometimes made of stronger                European times in other continents, have been
material, and also shell, turtle shell or other mater-       found. The modern curved hooks used nowadays in
ial. To increase the luring effect, some feathers,           commercial fisheries are always well-tempered
hackle and also pearls are fixed to the end of the            metal hooks. They should be neither too soft, to
hook. The most popular Polynesian type of hook               avoid their straightening out by pulling, nor too
has the line attached to the head of the shank               hard to prevent their breaking under strain. Iron
with a lashing of fine cord (Nordhoff 1930). The              hooks, however, become rusty, especially in sea
knowledge of how to make such compound hooks,                water, if not made of stainless steel or nickel alloy.
however, had almost vanished from Oceania by the             They must be protected by one of several different
second half of the 19th century because of the intru-        methods including galvanizing, tinning, gilding,
sion of European influence.                                   bronzing, enamelling, plating with gold, silver,
   Thus today the beautiful hooks composed of                nickel, cadmium or copper, lacquering (japanning)
mother-of-pearl, tortoiseshell, whalebone and espe-          or by simple ‘blueing’. Generally, tinned hooks are
90                                   Fish Catching Methods of the World

                                                         Figure 8.15 More variations of the simple hook:
                                                         (a) hand-made iron hook without barb from Lake
                                                         Tanganyika; (b) hook made in Norway for the Japanese
                                                         tuna fishery with a point like a barb; (c) shellfish hook of
                                                         Oceania with the barb outside, from the Island of Yap;
                                                         (d) hand-made Japanese iron tuna hook with the barb
                                                         inside; (e) double hook; (f) triple hook; (g) Chinese
                                                         quadruple hook.

Figure 8.14 Compound hook used for skipjack in Tahiti.
(Photo: FAO.)

preferred. Some manufacturers have acquired great
skill and experience in this field and supply com-
mercial and sports fishermen all over the world with
their hooks.
   Before describing the modern bent form of
hooks, the circular ones made of metal can be men-
tioned (Figure 8.15a–d). These more or less com-
pletely round hooks are found in different places
and are considered very effective as the fish, when
caught, slide towards the centre of the hook and
cannot escape (Brelsfjord 1946). This is why circu-
lar hooks are also used today in tuna fishery. More-
                                                         Figure 8.16 The parts of the modern bent fishing hook.
over, Norwegian investigations showed that hooks
with the point in the line of the pull, or with the
point in the direction of the hook eye, have a higher    point (Figure 8.16). The head of the hook serves for
hooking frequency than conventional ones. Never-         fastening the line and is shaped as an eye, loop,
theless, modern hooks are more V- or U-shaped.           plate, or is simply notched on the front of the shank
Different parts are distinguishable and are named        so that the line can be fastened on properly. The
for comparison: head or eye, shank, bend, crook and      shank can be of varying length and form. Its cross-
                                                Line Fishing: Basic Implements                                          91

Hollow             Tapered                Tapered
point              eye                    shank
Curved                                    Marked
                   Ball eye               shank
in point                                                         Kirbed     Reversed
Superior           Looped                 Marked                      Straight
point              eye                    tapered
                                          shank                 Shank cross sections
Dublin             Needle                 Flatted
point              eye                    shank
Knife              Flatted                Knobbed                 Regular Forged
edge point         Hole in flat           shank

                                  Four slices
       Turned down                in shank
       ball eye                                   Ringed hook          Turned up
                                                                       tapered eye
       Turned up
       ball eye         Tipped shank
                                                  Eyed hook           Turned down
                        bent back                                     tapered eye      Figure 8.17 Terminology of fish
              Sliced                                                                   hook features. (From Bjordal &
              shank                                                                    Løkkeborg 1996 with permission.)

section can be round (regular) or flattened eye                      of the fish when the bait is taken or the line is
(forged). Especially long shanks are designed to                    pulled, so that the fish becomes fast. For this reason
prevent a fish, after swallowing the hook, from                      a good hook needs to have a needle-sharp point for
biting the line and escaping. The bend and crook of                 effective penetration, correct shape for holding the
the hook varies in shape: round or angular with all                 catch, perfect hardening to avoid breaking, and
possible variations. The point of the hook may be                   high rust resistance. To make the hook corrosion
either straight or even reversed and curved. Major                  resistant, it is coated using electrolysis with differ-
variations within the basic hook shapes and fea-                    ent metals such as tin, nickel, cadmium or combi-
tures are shown in Figure 8.17.                                     nations of these or other anticorrosive materials.
   There are well-known hook types in many dif-                     One of the weak areas can be the point. In many
ferent sizes but, unfortunately, different systems of               fisheries, sharpening the point is carried out regu-
numbers are used for hook designation. Very often                   larly and needs much working time, particularly in
no detail is given about the form, size or real length              the sturgeon fishery. A sharp point depends also on
of either the hook, or (which is much more impor-                   the material of which the hook is made.Those made
tant) its gap and especially its spread (Figure 8.16).              of nickel alloy do not rust, but their points cannot
Sometimes the throat is mentioned – that is, the                    be as needle sharp as required. One of the common
depth between the gap and the inside of the bend.                   characteristic features in modern hook design is
There is no way of knowing something about a                        that the point of the hook is bent towards the eye
hook by the number alone, unless the name of the                    or the shank (Figure 8.18). A hook with such a
manufacturer and the type of the hook (quality                      shape has the point towards the line of pull which
number) is also given and a catalogue is available.                 ensures that the tension placed on the snood is
The number alone indicates only if a hook of the                    more effectively transferred to the point of the
same type is smaller or larger. In general the higher               hook. The penetrating force applied by the point
number indicates a smaller hook and vice versa, but                 and the hooking probability will therefore be larger
this is not always so! Usually No. 20 is the smallest               than for a usual J-hook.
size and hooks increase in size from No. 20 to No.                     Even though the history of fishing hooks goes
1, beyond which larger hooks are designated 1/0, 2/0                back thousands of years, it is well known that the
and so on, sometimes running up to 16/0 and more.                   first bent hooks were barbless. Older Egyptian and
   The purpose of a fishing hook is to ensure that                   Roman hooks made of metal were without barbs,
the fish is unable to spit it out with the bait after                which were introduced later. In southern and
biting or swallowing it. It penetrates into the mouth               central Africa, no barbed hooks were known until
92                                  Fish Catching Methods of the World


Figure 8.18 Different types of fish hook
designs developed from the traditional       Rush                                                       EZ
J-hook (From Bjordal & Løkkeborg 1996
with permission.)                                       Wide gap              Circle–hook

imported hooks from Europe became available to          useful, but it is not necessary for the barb to be
be copied (MacLaren 1958). There are different          fitted directly to the point of the hook. This explains
reasons for attaching barbs on fishing hooks. The        why in some hooks of ancient fisheries, the barb is
most important is to prevent the fish slipping off       further away from the point than in the others. Its
the hook. In Chapter 6, about spears and harpoons,      purpose then is mainly to secure the bait and less
the barb was mentioned as being a method of pre-        to effect the catch; the hook, but not the barb, does
venting the prey from escaping. But as long as the      that. Usually the barb for holding the fish points to
fishing line can be kept under tension, no barb is       the inner side of the hook, that is, it is fitted into the
required on the hook. Accordingly, in some modern       bow of the hook in Europe, Asia and Africa. It can,
line-fishing methods where it is desired that the fish    however, when made to secure the bait, also be
be removed quickly from the hook – such as with         pointed to the outside, as for hooks from large areas
the commercial tuna pole-and-line fishery – the          of South America, Oceania (Figure 8.15c) and in
barbed hook is abandoned and only a plain hook is       the ancient Japanese fishery before the Buddhist
used. This is because a barb would hinder the oper-     era. There is always one barb only pointing to the
ation of freeing the fish and releasing the line for     inner side, but there can be as many as three on the
further catches. In this case tension must be kept on   outer side (Kishinouge 1941). Modern hooks with
the pole-and-line so that the fish does not slip off     additional barbs are nowadays called ‘sliced’ hooks.
the hook before being landed on deck. Some sports       There can be up to four ‘slices’, two inside and two
fishermen also use barbless hooks or those with          outside (Figure 8.17). The slices were, it is said,
wavy points, especially when they wish to return        originally made for very special bait, namely
small, undersized fish to the water without injury.      salmon roe. But now sliced hooks are also made to
Nevertheless, most modern hooks made of metal           secure other types of bait such as worms, mussels
are, with few exceptions, barbed. Even older types      flesh, etc. (Figures 8.17 and 12.29). For use with
of fishing hooks like the compound ones, which           dough baits, cheese, blood baits, marshmallows, etc.,
were originally barbless, can now have a barb for       trebles were developed that are fitted with a brass
this reason (Figure 8.13a).                             spring for holding all kinds of soft baits (Figure
   But there are other reasons why a fishing hook        8.19).
can be barbed. The hook also has to serve the func-        Bait can be fixed on a hook also in quite another
tion of holding the bait for which a barbed hook is     manner. A special form is the rubber-covered hook
                                        Line Fishing: Basic Implements                                         93

Figure 8.19 Special barbed hook for soft bait.

Figure 8.20 Rubber-covered hook.

                                                         Figure 8.22 Fish hook from Botel Tobago with a piece
                                                         of yarn to fix the bait, here a flying fish, which is also
                                                         secured to the line by a gorge. The line is used to catch

                                                         rotating hook enables the point of the hook to twist
                                                         and to penetrate the jaws of the big bass. Another
                                                         method is to provide the hook with a little piece of
                                                         yarn to fix the bait. Such ‘bait cords’ are known
                                                         from Oceania and up to Taiwan and Hawaii in
                                                         the north (Figure 8.22).There are two other reasons
                                                         why hooks have a barb besides securing the hooked
Figure 8.21 Hook with plastic worm for catching giant
bass.                                                    fish or the bait. First, a barb can be required to
                                                         prevent the point of a hook penetrating too deeply
                                                         into the fish (Nordhoff 1930), even though this
used in cod fishing. In this case the shank of the        seems to be in contrast to the idea that the barb has
hook is curved in a special way to keep the rubber       to anchor the hook into the fish. The second reason
‘worm’ in its place (Figure 8.20). Mostly the bait has   relates to ripping hooks (Chapter 12) for sturgeon
no influence on the form of the hook. Another             lines (Figure 12.16), which have a barb designed to
plastic worm was developed for catching giant bass       prevent the line of a little float, fixed on the bend
(Figure 8.21). The pertinent so-called automatic         of the hook, from slipping away.
94                                   Fish Catching Methods of the World

                                                          Figure 8.24 Tandem hook for catching trout and
Figure 8.23 Turkish tandem hook (1971).                   salmon.

   In general, fishing hooks are used singly, but          which take the place of money (south India
several bent hooks of the same type can also be           1600–1900). Therefore, as such hooks are never
combined in a bunch. Double and triple hooks, and         used for fishing, they not only have strange forms
in some places also quadruple hooks (Figure 8.15g)        but are also made of unusual and often precious
are used. Hooks of the same type and size can also        materials.
be combined one after the other. For instance the
Turkish fishermen use such ‘tandem hooks’ (Figure
8.23) where three hooks are soldered to two or
                                                          8.5 Lines and casts
three pieces of connecting wire (Mengi 1977). This        Fishing with bait, with or without a hook, or with a
tandem can be considered as one multiple hook,            hook, with or without special bait (sometimes the
because all the hooks are hidden in one fish, which        hook itself can be an attractive bait) is known as
is used as bait. Moreover, there is a little barb above   ‘line fishing’ or ‘hook-and-line fishing’, but the
the hooks to attach them to the bait. Tandem hooks        gear is called only ‘line’. This method of fishing is
are also used in other places for catching trout with     considered inexpensive because little capital is
worms or salmon with cut or whole herring baits           required to obtain the simple but effective gear and
(Figure 8.24).                                            a vessel, if one is needed. Therefore line fishing is
   There are many complicated hooks with and              used all over the world with the exception of fishery
without barbs both on the outer as well as on the         which is practised in virgin woods. For obvious
inner side, but often hooks are made for ceremo-          reasons, a line that would be easily entangled in
nial and other purposes only. There are even hooks        trees and bushes is unsuited for such areas.
                                         Line Fishing: Basic Implements                                        95

   In the past, lines were made from many different
natural plant fibres such as cotton, linen, hemp and
even manila, or from fibres produced by animals,
such as silk and hair. Nowadays, fishing lines are
made of synthetic material, especially transparent
monofilaments of polyamide (PA) but also of
twisted polyethylene (PE). The breaking strength
of lines in commercial fisheries must be high
enough to cope with the weight of the fish to be
caught to avoid losses by breaking, but on the other
hand they should not be excessively thick as this
can decrease their efficiency nor too fine, to allow
for ease of handling. Nevertheless, some fish can
bite a line in two, especially after swallowing the
hook, which may have a short shank. To avoid this,
hooks with longer shanks can be used or a special
strong section of line, known as the ‘cast’ or ‘leader’,
is fixed between the hook and line. This cast can be
made of wire or even chain (Figure 8.25) and be of
more or less rough structure, depending on the size
of the hook and the biting power of the fish that is
to be caught. Horse-hair, whalebone, leather strips,
rubber cord, silk or, as is usual today, synthetic
monofilaments, are also used as casts. In addition to
chains, piano wire is also used for catching sharks,
because they can destroy the line not only with
their teeth but also with their hard, rough skin
(Steuben & Krefft 1978). Generally, a long line will
let the hook sink in deeper water and also allows
the hook to be cast further from the fisherman on
shore or in a boat. This is also why lines are fixed
on long rods as for so-called pole-and-line fishery.
It is also possible to fish without line, with a hook
fixed directly on the end of a pole. The Japanese use
poles of c. 4 m long, on the end of which are very
short lines with weighted quadruple hooks, to catch
bullfrogs at night with the help of lights. They also
use a hook on the point of the stick, baited by a
frog, to catch catfish. This method of ‘lineless
line fishing’ was known in ancient times. A pre-
Columbian vase with a relief showing a Peruvian
fisherman with a stick in his hand has even been
found. This pole ends in the mouth of a fish which
may have been caught in the same manner (Nachti-           Figure 8.25 Chain leader between hook and swivel.
gall 1966). It seems that lineless line fishing was
spread over wide areas. In a report about endemic          lineless gear was then used for angling (MacLaren
fishing in central and southern Africa, such a              1958). Finally, an old German report (Schreber
method is mentioned, in addition to hookless               1772) describes catching eels using a pointed stick
angling. In this case, men of the BaVenda tribe cut        on which a fat worm has been pierced. The eels are
all the thorns off a branch except the last one. This      so eager to take this bait that they can be lifted with
96                                     Fish Catching Methods of the World

                                                          Figure 8.27 Attachment of swivels to a monofilament
                                                          mainline (a–c) and a twisted multifilament mainline (d–f).

                                                          swivel connection. This gain was explained by the
                                                          reduced loss of fish during hauling, as the swivel
                                                          prevents twisting of the snoods so that their flexi-
Figure 8.26 Different types of swivels for line fishing.   bility is maintained. When using swivel-connected
                                                          snoods, fishermen also found that the work of de-
                                                          twisting snoods was significantly reduced. The
the stick out of the water, similar to bobbing. Such      swivel also makes it possible to use monofilament
gear without lines is exceptional; however, they are      snoods with multifilament mainlines, and this has
a form of line fishing in spite of the misleading          become common practice in the Norwegian coastal
name.                                                     fisheries for cod and haddock (Bjordal & Løkke-
                                                          borg 1996).
                                                             To fix the swivel with the hook line at the main-
8.6 Swivels, stops, rotating links
                                                          line at a determined and constant distance, differ-
and snaps                                                 ent types of single or double stops are used (Figure
Like the hook, the swivel is also a basic implement       8.27). The stops can be made of different materials
in all kinds of line fishing and serves to prevent         (yarn, plastic, metal). The advantage of the types in
twisting or entangling of a line or snood. Some prin-     Figure 8.27(c), (e) and (f) against those in Figure
cipal types of swivels are shown in Figure 8.26. The      8.27(a), (b) and (d) is that during mechanized
swivel size is adapted to the necessary strength,         hauling, the mainline forms an almost parallel
diameter of line and size of bait. Swivels must rotate    trace with the snood. In the other types, an angle
easily. They can be arranged at the change of one         between the swivel-eye and the mainline can
kind of snood to another (Figure 8.25) or, for            negatively influence the de-twisting function or
longlining, attach snoods to the mainline. With the       the slide through any guide rollers. The quick-snap-
introduction of monofilament lines, traditional            line with one metallic or plastic stop, a rotating
snood attachment by tying was difficult because of         link and a clip also has this advantage (Figure
the stiff and slippery character of the monofilament       8.28d). In this type, the clip eye not only enables a
material. The common solution was to use swivels          quick clip in of a monofilament snood with a
on the mainline to which the snoods were attached         knotted end, but also the rotation of such a snood
(Figure 8.27a–c) and later this connection was also       without a swivel. Some other types of lines with a
favoured for multifilament lines (Figure 8.27d–f).         quick-snap mechanism for the snoods and hooks
Norwegian researchers showed in the mid-1980s             are shown in Figure 8.28(a)–(c). If the snood is
that catch rates could be increased by use of a           detached during hauling and only the mainline is
                                       Line Fishing: Basic Implements   97

Figure 8.28 Quick-snap connection of a snood to the mainline.
98                                  Fish Catching Methods of the World

                                                       have been at least two independent developments,
                                                       for lines first and later for other fishing gear.
                                                          It is on record that the old English or Irish sport
                                   Mainline            fishermen used small boards shearing sideways
                                                       (now forbidden in Britain) to carry their lines out
                                                       from the bank into the current of a river for catch-
                                                       ing trout and pike (Davis 1958). If there is some
                                                       current to tow a line away from the bank, it is only
                                                       necessary to fix a small board, fastened to a so-called
                                                       ‘crow’s-foot’, at an oblique angle to the current. The
                                                       more oblique its position, the more will it be pressed
                                   Clip (snap)         to one side. But it should not be put into the water
                                                       too obliquely (the so-called ‘angle of attack’). The
                                                       aim is to maintain the sideways pressing power of
                                                       the current as much as possible but to suffer from
                                                       the backward pressing power as little as possible. A
                                                       board held directly across the current is pressed
                                                       backwards only and no longer has any shearing
                                                       power.A board held in line with the current also has
                                                       no shearing power. So a mean or compromise posi-
                                                       tion has to be found. Otter boards operate on the
                                                       principle of the kite, but it is the water and not the
                                  (snood)              wind which creates the shearing effect. Water cur-
                                                       rents permit otter boards to shear both vertically
                                                       and horizontally. The purpose of the otter board in
                                                       line fishing, here described first, is to shear in the
                                                       horizontal direction. The same effect can also be
Figure 8.29 Quick-snap connection without swivel.
                                                       achieved by towing a line with a shearing board
                                                       through the water, e.g. by a person moving along the
                                                       shore, or in a boat. In either case the line will be
stored on a drum, other special clips are also used    moved away from the fisherman by the board as far
(see Chapter 9).                                       as the length of the line will allow. Short branch lines
   For a quick attachment of long baited snoods in     with hooks at intervals are tied on to the line con-
pelagic longlining (see Chapter 9) special snaps       necting the board with the boat or the fisherman
(Figure 8.29) in different sizes were developed.       and in this way four or more artificial flies, spinners
These snaps are also used for the attachment of        or other lures can be operated. Sometimes flies are
traps, pots or shelter boxes to the longline type of   attached directly to the otter board. The wooden
such fisheries (see Chapters 16 and 17).                board has a strip of lead on the lower side, so that it
                                                       floats upright. It may also have a strip of cork on its
                                                       upper side for the same reason. As far as is known,
8.7 Otter boards                                       the oldest publication describing the use of otter
Some people may wonder why otter boards and            boards in this way by sports fishermen appeared in
other types of shearing device are mentioned as        1855 by von Schmidt, i.e. at least 20 years before the
accessories of line fishing. There is evidence that     otter board was first mentioned for use with trawls
these implements were used in line fishing before       (Holdsworth 1874). It has also been stated that the
they were used with other types of fishing gear such    weighting of the board and the movement of the
as trawls (Chapter 26), stow nets (Chapter 24) and     water would be sufficient to allow the board to drift
seine nets (Chapter 28).This does not mean that the    completely free like a floatline, and that safe return
other fishing methods have acquired the use of          to the bank was assured (Jenkins 1974). In commer-
otter boards from line fishing. It may be that there    cial fisheries such boards have been, and still are,
                                            Line Fishing: Basic Implements                                         99

                                                               Figure 8.31 Swedish otter board for fishing for char in
                                                               Lake Vättern or for salmon and trout on the Swedish sea

                                                               such as California. In the Gulf of Bothnia, the Finns
                                                               catch grayling with troll lines equipped with simple
                                                               shearing boards and artificial flies. But this catching
                                                               method is no longer a remarkable method but
                                                               rather an extreme hobby for a few fishermen in the
                                                               northern parts of Bothnia Bay and in some lakes
                                                               where grayling are still abundant. It is forbidden in
                                                               running waters in Finland. Altogether trolling for
Figure 8.30 Equipment for directing horizontal shear-          trout, salmon, perch and pike became very popular
ing: (a) shearing boats with troll lines for mackerel in the
Bay of Kiel, Germany; (b) otter board for mackerel lines;      in Finland in the late 1980s. Before that, most
(c) mackerel fishery with otter boards; (d) Swiss               trolling was operated from small rowboats and only
‘Seehund’ (seal) for troll lines for catching sea trout.       a few lines were used. Today the vessels are highly
(From Hunziker 1950 with permission.)                          equipped motor boats and fishing is much more
                                                               efficient than it was previously (pers. comm. 2000).
                                                                  The shearing equipment may be a simple board
used for a slightly different purpose. When trolling           only, but there are also more complicated ones
many lines behind a boat, it is necessary to keep the          such as the Swedish otter board used for catching
lines clear of each other to avoid entangling, and for         char in Lake Vättern or for salmon and trout on the
this reason shearing boards were used off the coast            Swedish sea coast (Figure 8.31). Compared with
of south Devon. The implements were operated                   these boards, some of the so-called ‘Seehunde’
with the concave side facing toward the direction of           (meaning seals) of the Swiss lake fishermen, which
the towing vessel (Peters 1935).                               are used for catching single lake trout, must be
   Until the 1950s, the German mackerel fishery in              regarded as perfect. As can be seen from Figure
the western Baltic used small wooden boards towed              8.30(d), the connecting line between vessel and
behind a boat (Figure 8.30a). The branch lines were            board is connected to the top of the mast. This is to
not hung on the connecting line but on the board               prevent the resistance of the line towed through
itself (von Brandt 1952), the advantage being that,            the water from decreasing the shearing effect of
when the fish bites, the board is tilted and rises flatly        the board. Newer rules in Germany (1997) prohibit
to the surface, thus signalling that a fish has been            troll lines for sailing vessels in Lake Constance and
caught by that line. The same method is also known             only motor boats can use them. The so-called
in the lake and river fisheries of Norway, Sweden               ‘Hund’, which is used as an otter board, is shown in
and Finland, and also in other parts of the world              Figure 8.32. The special design of some of these
100                                    Fish Catching Methods of the World

                                                             Figure 8.33 Equipment for causing vertical shearing in
                                                             deep water: (a) Japanese type; (b) surfing paravane for
                                                             sport fishermen; (c) Swedish paravane for mackerel.

Figure 8.32 Double otter board for fishing with troll lines
on Lake Constance (Institute in Langenargen 1981).           and third, to announce the catch. When a fish takes
                                                             the hook, this is shown by the board tilting and
                                                             rising to the surface. Several hooks can be towed
                                                             with this line. It is interesting to note that dummy
boards, which is favourable for steering, makes              baits (but without hooks) are also attached to the
them, of course, far more expensive than the simple          towing line in front of the board. The Japanese use
boards used by mackerel fishermen. They are there-            these shallow-depth shearing boards, also called
fore much more suited to the sports fisherman than            divers, for catching small tuna and dolphin and also
to the commercial fisherman, who prefers simple               for catching large mackerel.
boards.                                                         As the shearing boards are made of wood, fish-
   Besides lateral shearing boards, boards are used          ermen can make them themselves. But if wood is
in line fishing, that shear downwards to take the line        not available, a new idea conceived by Captain Hu
down to certain predetermined depths. The macke-             (Hu 1974) in 1974 showed how such a diving imple-
rel paravane developed in Sweden is an example               ment for a troll line can be made in a simple manner
of such a device (Figure 8.33c). When the fish                (Figure 8.34) using a tin can. The tin can, with top
strikes, the paravane returns to the surface and the         and bottom removed, operates as shearing device,
line is hauled in. Better known in commercial fish-           held with a line system by a clip. To keep the can at
eries are the shallow-depth shearing boards used             the right angle, some lead is fixed to the lower side
by Japanese professional line fishermen (Figure               (Figure 8.34a). When a fish takes the hook, the
8.33a). They are narrow boards either flat or slightly        shock releases the can from the clip and the shear-
bent, and weighted with lead at the lower side of            ing device comes to the surface announcing the
the front edge. At the rear end the boards have two          catch (Figure 8.34b) (Ben-Yami 1980).
wings. These little boards are towed by a connect-
ing line which begins quite near the anterior edge
of the board. The line with the hook is fastened to          8.8 The kite
one of the two rear wings or else in the centre              The description of shearing devices used in fisheries
between the two wings. This board has three func-            with troll lines would be incomplete without men-
tions: first, to take the fishing line to the desired          tioning an instrument which may be called the
depth; second, by wobbling, to move the hook so              mother of all shearing devices; namely, the kite.
that it simulates the actions of a tumbling, sick fish;       China is thought to be the homeland of the kite
                                          Line Fishing: Basic Implements                                        101

and from here the knowledge of how to make and              or from the Banda group. Like children’s kites, the
use it has gradually spread throughout Asia and             Indonesian kite is made of paper or dried pandanus
beyond. Originally the kite may have been used for          leaves, sewn together and set in a bamboo frame.
religious and ceremonial purposes only. Kites were          Such a kite can be quite large, c. 1 m long and
also used for prize-fighting in Japan, and are used          50 cm wide. The line for taking the kite into the air
as toys all over the world. Kites have been used for        is c. 100 m long. The tail line runs to 75 m and carries
physical experiments and for meteorological obser-          the spider-web lure or a ball of cotton waste at its
vations. In the past, kites have also been used for         end. Fishing is operated from small boats or canoes
operating lines in the fisheries of south-west Asia,         with a crew of two (Figure 8.35). One person keeps
especially to catch garfish, sometimes bonito and            the boat up against the wind, or if the wind is too
other fish in Micronesia, Polynesia and the Philip-          strong, then athwart it. The other person handles
pines (Forbes 1946; Anell 1955). Formerly kite fish-         the kite. The line must be continuously pulled to
eries may have been widespread, even though it              keep the bait moving on the water. Once the fish
may be presumed to have been hampered for reli-             (garfish) has been caught, both kite and line are
gious reasons (Lundbeck 1972). According to tra-            hauled on board for the fish to be removed and the
dition, kite fishery was introduced into Indonesia           kite prepared for another flight. This type of fishing
from the Philippines, from the Larantuka Islands,           takes place from about May until October when the
                                                            easterly and south-easterly winds are the right
                                                            strength. The fishermen operate c. 200 m from the
                                                            land. In general the different reports and observa-
                                                            tions of kite fishing repeat this description, but the
                                                            techniques may have been different in some areas.
                                                            The kite is generally made of leaves strengthened
                                                            with palm veins and is flown at the end of a line of
                                                            sufficient length, when the boat is rowed against the
                                                            wind. In some areas of Indonesia the first part of
                                                            the line was led through a ring at the top of a
                                                            bamboo stick (Doogue 1974), looking like a fishing
                                                            pole held by one person in the anchored boat. A
                                                            second line with the bait at the end hung from the
                                                            tail of the kite. This bait could be, as mentioned, a
                                                            bunch of spider webs (Figure 8.6) to catch garfish,
                                                            or a hook with a piece of sharkskin to catch bonito.
                                                            The bait can also be a small fish with a snare to
                                                            catch garfish, Belone belone. Reports agree on the
                                                            fact that the kite has to fly in such a way that the
                                                            bait more or less dances on the surface of the water
                                                            and thus induces fish to snap at it. When the fish is
                                                            taken, the kite has to be hauled in to get the prey.
a                                     b
                                                               This old method includes much observation of
Figure 8.34 Troll line for tunny: the diving can, accord-   fish behaviour and has not disappeared completely
ing to Captain L. C. Hu, Christchurch, New Zealand.         in commercial fisheries. On the contrary, the
                                                            method has been improved as can be seen from the

                                                                              Figure 8.35 Fishing kites operated
                                                                              from little boats or canoes.
102                                   Fish Catching Methods of the World

following report published about 30 years ago from       improvement of a very old fishing method. As will
the Santa Cruz Islands (Koch 1971). Here also two        be shown later (Chapter 10) kite fishing has sur-
people, a man and his wife, are needed for the oper-     vived not only in some commercial fisheries but has
ation of the gear. One person sits in front to row       also been adopted in modern sport fishing.
the boat against the wind while the other person
operates the kite flying at 10–29 m high. As usual,
the ideal technique is considered to be the spider-
                                                         8.9 Stabilizers
web bait jumping over the water surface. If the bait     Stabilizers are not shearing boards and they do not
is taken, the line of the kite is hauled in by rowing    work directly with the fishing gear, but they are
backwards, but only so far as necessary to reach the     often mentioned with troll lining, especially for
line with the fish, leaving the kite flying so that        salmon trolling. They consist of two boards hanging
fishing can be resumed immediately after the catch        from the main poles of the troller, one on each side
is removed. This can be considered as a modern           of the vessel. Originally made of wood, they are

Figure 8.36 Sea anchor to adjust
the drifting speed of a fishing boat
jigging for squid.

                                                                                                  Plastic float

                                                          Retrieval rope
                                                                                           rope       Float rope
                             Anchoring rope


                                                                    Guy ropes                        Sinker(lead)



Figure 8.37 Modern parachute type of sea anchor.
                                            Line Fishing: Basic Implements                                            103

now made of galvanized metal and are available in              Duhamel du Monceau, H.L. (1769/82) Traité des pêches,
different sizes according to the size of the trolling            et histoire des poissons. Neuchâtel.
                                                               von Ehrenkreuz (1852) Das Ganze der Angelfischerei und
                                                                 ihre Geheimnisse. Quedlinburg/Leipzig.
   The purpose of the stabilizers is to eliminate              Forbes, M. (1946) Fishing with kite and spider web.
jerking and to minimize the roll of the vessel when              Natural History 56, 488–489.
cruising or trolling during poor weather conditions.           Geuenich, E. (1940) Moderne Knebelangeln in
The boards are mostly triangular, with a vertical                Frankreich. Monatshefte für Fischerei 8, 96.
                                                               Hamabe, M., Hamuro, C. & Ogura, M. (1982) Squid
vane on the upper side that serves to keep the                   Fishing from Small Boats. FAO Fisheries Technology
board on course. The stabilizers make it possible to             Service. Fishing News Books, Farnham.
work more safely on the deck of the vessel in rough            Holdsworth, E.W.H. (1874) Deep-sea Fishing and Fishing
waters, and so probably increases the time that can              Boats. London.
be spent at sea.                                               Hosaka, E.Y. (1973) Shore Fishing in Hawaii. Hawaii.
                                                               Hu, L.C. (1974) Diving lines for tuna. World Fishing
   Stabilizers are also known in squid jigging with              32 (7).
boats (see Chapter 12). To adjust the drifting speed           Hunziker, H. (1950) ABC für Sportfischer. Zürich.
and direction of the boat towards the squid, the sea           Hurum, H.J. (1977) A History of the Fish Hook and the
anchor was introduced (Hamabe et al. 1982). In                   Story of Mustad, the Hook Maker. London.
addition a mizzen sail was rigged near the stern to            Jenkins J.G. (1974) Nets and Coracles. Newton
keep the boat with its bow into the wind (Figure               Kasuga Osaka, L. (ed.) (1975) Catálogo de Artes y
8.36). This original sail type sea anchor was later              Métodos de Pesca Artesanales de la República Popular
replaced by the parachute type (Figure 8.37) which               China. Instituto Nacional de Pesca, México [in
is more convenient to handle. Both types require a               Spanish].
                                                               Kishinouge, K. (1941) Prehistoric fishing in Japan. Journal
simple method for collapsing the sail or a parachute
                                                                 of the College of Agriculture Imperial University Tokyo
for hauling in with the least possible force. In addi-           II, 327–382.
tion to keeping the vessels with the bow into the              Koch, G. (1971) Die materielle Kultur der Santa
wind, the mizzen sail also serves to dampen rolling              Cruz-Inseln. Veroeffentlichungen des Museums für
in a seaway and thus reduces the risk of entangling              Völkerkunde Berlin NF 21. Berlin.
                                                               Lagercrantz, S. (1934) Fish-hooks in Africa and their dis-
and breaking the jigging lines.                                  tribution. Ryksmuseets Ethnografiska Avddelning No.
                                                               Lane, P. (1978) Eels and their utilization. Marine Fisheries
References                                                       Review 40 (4), 1–20.
                                                               Lehtonen, J.U.E. (1975) Kansanomainen Ravustus ja
Anell, B. (1955) Contribution to the History of Fishing in       Rapujen Hyväksikäytto Suomessa. [The Popular
  Southern Seas. Uppsala.                                        Methods to Catch Crayfish and their Use in Finland.]
Ben-Yami, M. (1980) Tuna fishing with pole and line. FAO          Helsinki [in Finnish].
  and Fishing News Books, Farnham.                             Loebell, R. (1966) So fängt man Aale. Hamburg.
Bickerdyke, J. (1895) Sea Fishing. London.                     Lundbeck, J. (1972) Die Fischerei von den Naturvölkern
Bjordal, A. & Løkkeborg, S. (1996) Longlining. Fishing           bis zur modernen Technik und Wirtschaft: Fangver-
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  Hamburg/Berlin.                                              MacLaren, P.J.R. (1958) The Fishing Devices of Central
Brelsfjord, W.V. (1946) Fishermen of the Bangweulu               and Southern Africa. The Occasional Papers of the
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  Tribe. The Rhodes–Livingstone Papers No. 12.                   Rhodesia.
  Rhodes–Livingstone Institute, Livingstone, Northern          Matheson, C. (1929) Wales and the Sea Fisheries. Cardiff.
  Rhodesia.                                                    Mengi, T. (1977) Batikçilik teknigi. [Fishing Techniques.]
Carver, A. (1980) Australian fishermen could learn from           Black Sea, Marmara Sea and some special forms of
  islanders’ tuna techniques. Australian Fisheries 39 (7),       fishing gear. Istanbul [in Turkish].
  18–19.                                                       Münster, H. (1979) Mit dem Pödder auf den Aal.
Davis, F.M. (1958) An account of fishing gear of England          Fischwaid 104 (3), 135.
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Doogue, R. (1974) Hook, Line and Sinker. Wellington.             Viehzüchter. Beiträge zur Peruanischen Völkerkunde.
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  Fischereien und Geschichte der Fische von                   Luvale society. African Study 15 (2), 75–86.
            Line Fishing: Gear and Methods

Various methods have been developed for line                   by the prey. Furthermore, equipment for landing
fishing. There are simple ones for the needs of                 the prey such as gaffs (Chapter 12), scoop nets
small-scale fishermen and for ‘mini-fishermen’,                  (Chapter 24), and even liftnets (Chapter 23) may be
fishing for subsistence only, with little capital and           needed.
no specialized boats. There also exist complicated                Handlines may have a single hook, but they
and expensive tackle for sports fishermen fishing                usually have several. The additional hooks can be
for fun and recreation (Chapter 10). And finally,               fixed on the weighted main line at short intervals
there are methods of line fishing for large-scale               with short branch lines (Figure 9.1g, h). Another
commercial fisheries operating some thousands of                form is to arrange more than one hook on the so-
hooks on lines several km long. Whether in large-              called ‘balance lines’, where the hooks are mostly
or small-scale fisheries using lines, each fish is               attached in pairs and consist of several balanced
caught individually and the catch is considered of a           parts. In this case a slightly bent metal or wooden
better quality than when caught by other methods               spreader, provided with casts and hooks, is put
in which large quantities of fish may be pressed                through a weight (Figure 9.1e). The bent spreader
together. With line fishing it is possible to catch fish         instantly adjusts any sudden loads. ‘Balance’ fishing
on rough ground, even in their hiding places                   lines are found especially in the northern fisheries.
between rocks. On the other hand, line fishing is               A secondary balance can be attached to the main
labour-intensive, and therefore, simple mechanical             balance device, so this method of fishing with more
fishing methods were soon devised. Today, in large-             than one hook can lead to the development of a
scale fisheries, more or less completely automatic              whole system of fishing hooks (Figure 9.1f).
line fishing equipment is used. Whatever method is              Balance lines have the advantage that a sudden jerk
used, natural or artificial bait is needed. The lack of         caused by a biting fish can be compensated for.
natural bait can sometimes hamper this fishery – a                 Another method is known to achieve the same
problem which has not yet been resolved satisfac-              purpose in eastern and southern Asia, and also in
torily.                                                        African and European fisheries. Here a bow-shaped
                                                               or moon-shaped implement – sometimes a strong
                                                               wire bent in this shape – can be tied between the
9.1 Handlines                                                  line and the cast so that a sudden strain or load can
The simplest form of fishing line is the handline. It           be adjusted (Figure 9.1c, h, i). This material also has
is composed of a line of certain length, a sinker              to serve as a weight and nowadays it is therefore
(lead, chain or any other weight), a cast snood                often made of lead.When it is made of wood or wire,
(usually) and at least one hook (Figure 9.1). There            an additional weight is fastened to it (Figure 9.1c).
may be added swivels, special lures, and possibly              This is also done with the modern Malaysian ‘rang-
floats – especially for some handlines used by sports           gong’ made of buffalo horn combined with syn-
fishermen (Chapter 10). There may also be                       thetic material (Figure 9.2). This implement gives
other devices to equalize the sudden jerks caused              the line not only the necessary elasticity, but also

106                                    Fish Catching Methods of the World

                                                             Figure 9.2 Handlines with ‘Ranggong’ made of horn
                                                             and plastic. Malaysia (1978).

                                                             cal longline’ (Figure 9.1h). The Chinese use vertical
                                                             longlines carrying hooks at either end of the line
Figure 9.1 Handlines: (a) simple handline of Ireland; (b)    (Figure 9.1i), especially for catching sea bream,
handline for mackerel of Heligoland; (c) handline of         Restrelliger sp., and mackerel.
Guinea (Sahrhage 1961); (d) Japanese handline with
ring; (e) balance line of Faeroe Islands; (f) Icelandic
                                                                The operation of a handline is very easy. In
handline for sharks with main and secondary balances         general the fisherman holds one end of the line
(Peters 1935); (g) English paternoster; (h) vertical long-   (possibly wound on a reel) in his hand, feeling with
line; (i) Chinese double handline of Formosa.                the finger for the bite of the fish. He then tries to
                                                             ‘set’ the hook at the right moment to prevent the
                                                             fish from escaping. As can be seen in the next
keeps the snood and the hook free from the lead              section, the handline can also be used with a pole
(Hurum 1977). It also serves to prevent the line             or stick.
twisting. Another reason why a curved wire is used              Handlines are not always held by hand during
in this manner, e.g. in cod fishing, is that it can give      fishing. Canoe fishermen of Madagascar, working
the hook an attractive movement (Burgess 1971).              alone in outrigger canoes, wind the end of the line
The same objective is achieved using a lead ring             around their naked bodies to feel the bite of the fish
with an excentric weight to which the fishing line is         – a method which leaves the hands free for
attached on one side and the cast with the hook on           manoeuvring the boat with the paddle. A special
the other (Figure 9.1d). Handlines with more than            ‘handline’ used in Formosa is actually manipulated
one, or only a few, hooks are not used so often. In          by the toes, and a practised fisherman can work
this case a main line with an end-lead can have many         several lines with each foot. This method is espe-
hooks on smaller branch lines as a so-called ‘verti-         cially used for eel fishing and it is remarkable in
                                       Line Fishing: Gear and Methods                                      107

                                                         The bait is sometimes attached to the top hook only
                                                         and it is the bottom hook that usually secures the
                                                         fish. Fishing with the foot was also known in Euro-
                                                         pean fisheries. People swimming had lines attached
                                                         to their big toes, especially when fishing was not
                                                         allowed (Welchert 1963)! Another strange method
                                                         of using a ‘handline’ was known in Rumania. The
                                                         fisherman rowed his boat with his two hands and
                                                         held the end of the line in his mouth. From there
                                                         the line ran over one of his ears and when a fish
                                                         took the hook he could feel it (Antipa 1916).
                                                            To ‘shoot’ the line, the weight is dropped into the
                                                         water at places where fish are expected, although
                                                         when fishing in deeper water it may be better to get
                                                         the hook down to the required depth as fast as pos-
                                                         sible.This may prevent other fishes or crabs gnawing
                                                         away at a slowly sinking baited hook. Even the fish-
                                                         ermen of ancient times knew how to increase the
                                                         sinking speed of the line with the hook by winding
                                                         it around a stone. When thrown into the water the
                                                         line unwinds as the stone falls to the bottom and the
Figure 9.3 Chinese handline of Formosa held with the
toes. Three hooks are joined to each other.              hook rises by means of a fixed float to the surface.
                                                         This is a technique also much used in Oceania
                                                         (Müller 1917; Nordhoff 1930; Koch 1965) but is also
                                                         known in other parts of the world. The people of
                                                         Heligoland used a similar method, casting a stone
                                                         with a very long line wound around it from the
                                                         beach into the water. The line rolled off the stone
                                                         and released the hook a long way out. This form of
                                                         line fishing was called ‘Hogeln’ (Schnakenbeck
                                                         1953). In the Amur area, sturgeon hooks were used
                                                         from which the weight separated only after a fish
                                                         had taken the hook, and a float rose to the surface
                                                         as a signal for the line to be hauled in (Anell 1955).
                                                            Theoretically, with handlines, the hook can be
                                                         lowered to any depth provided the line is long
                                                         enough. Owing to the effect of currents and the
                                                         drift of a vessel, however, a line needs to be much
                                                         longer than the depth of the water. It has been sug-
                                                         gested that in line fishing the maximum length of a
                                                         line should be about six times the expected
                                                         maximum depth of water (Burgess 1971). A line
                                                         120 m long may therefore be used to fish in a water
Figure 9.4 Chinese fisherman using his toes to hold the
                                                         depth of only 20 m or less. There are handlines of
                                                         astonishing length operated in commercial fish-
                                                         eries. In winter 1973–74, some fish were caught at a
that three hooks, hanging one upon another, are          depth of up to 180 m in Lake Constance, and fish-
hidden in the bait (Figures 9.3 and 9.4). Multiple       ermen of Senegal catch fish with handlines near
hooks such as ‘tandem hooks’ (Figure 8.23) are also      Dahomey at depths of 200 m. The famous coela-
known in other parts of the world (Roughley 1968).       canth, Latimeria, has been caught near Comores
108                                  Fish Catching Methods of the World

with handlines as long as 390 m (Millot 1954), and
men of the Caroline Islands in Micronesia have
fished for the escolar, or oilfish, at depths of
100–400 fathoms (180–720 m) (Miller 1966). In
Japan, the handlines for bottom fish are operated at
depths of up to 990 m, while the fishermen of
Madeira catch Aphanopus carbo, living at depths of
700–1000 m, with lines of up to 1000 fathoms
(1600 m) long. How did the fishermen ever become
aware that there were fish to be caught at such
depths, so far away from their own coasts? The
Indians of the north-west coast of America made a
handline for halibut with a curved wooden hook
which had a barb of ivory or bone. The hooks were
baited with squid and weighted with a stone sinker
so as to float a few feet off the bottom. How did
they know that they should float a few feet off the
bottom? How did they know, in the first place, that
the halibut were there, living on the bottom of a        Figure 9.5 Hand-operated reel of Mexican vessel for
rough and stormy sea? These are questions that will      line fishing of snapper and grouper in the Gulf of Mexico
never be answered unless we believe that old-time        (1976).
fishermen, like former hunters, had presentiments
and instincts (Beurmann 1961; Heitman 1962).
   When fishing offshore, hauling some 100 m of line         Originally, only simple wooden sticks were used
by hand and winding it up on a square wooden             but soon it was discovered that for successful oper-
frame is tiring work. Therefore commercial fisher-        ation of a fishing line, a pole with a good balance,
men quickly introduced mechanization for hauling         lightness, pliancy and strength was required
the line. This was achieved by small hand-driven         (Hosaka 1973). However, in primitive times fisher-
reels mounted to the gunwhales of the boat. Figure       men had to use what they could get, even though
9.5 shows such a manually operated hauling device        that may only have been ribs of the leaves of palm
for handlines used, in this case, by snapper fisher-      trees. Special techniques are used to overcome loss
men setting their lines in the Gulf of Mexico. A         from rods breaking. In the Cape Verde Islands, even
small pulley is incorporated, hanging on an elastic      large tuna have been caught with weak rods by
spring outrigger to give the hook an attractive          avoiding lifting the fish out of the water with the
vibration and also to absorb the shock when it is        rod, and by leading it instead to the vessel and then
taken. This may be the basis of further mechaniza-       taking the heavy fish out with the help of a gaff
tion in line fisheries which will be discussed in         (Chapter 12). Another method of avoiding losses
Section 9.8.                                             from weak fishing rods is to strengthen them with
                                                         wire. In general, strong material is chosen for
                                                         fishing rods such as special types of bamboo or
9.2 Pole-and-line fishing                                 good wood or other natural materials like whale-
It has already been stated that the line itself is not   bone (Münzing 1978). In commercial fisheries,
always held in the hand of the fisherman, but may         fishing rods are made not only of simple naturally
be fixed to a pole or rod instead. By this means the      grown poles of wood or bamboo but are also con-
line with the hook is taken further away from            structed of split cane and increasingly of fibreglass.
the fisherman, whose figure or movements may               In commercial fisheries, many different sizes of rods
frighten the fish away. This method is common to          are required: very short ones for fishing in ice holes
sport fisheries (Chapter 10) but it is also used in       (Figures 9.6 and 10.2), or very long ones (7 m and
commercial fisheries and is a technique known for         more) for surf fishing. In the commercial pole-and-
> 4000 years.                                            line fisheries, the line is fixed to the end of the pole
                                          Line Fishing: Gear and Methods                                      109

                                                             and its length is nearly the same as that of the rod.
                                                             No reel or other mechanism to wind up and store
                                                             the line is used; neither are floats used as they are
                                                             in sport fisheries.
                                                                Usually one pole has only one line of equal
                                                             length and one hook (Figure 9.7), but there are also
                                                             bifurcated sticks with two lines operated by com-
                                                             mercial fishermen. On Lake Tanganyika the fisher-
                                                             men sometimes use rods made of bifurcated or
                                                             even trifurcated branches, so that two or three lines
                                                             with their hooks can be used for fishing simultane-
                                                             ously (Poll 1952). Two-armed fishing rods are also
                                                             known in the East Asian squid line fishery (Figure
                                                             12.24). On the other hand there are also single poles
                                                             to which more than one line is attached (Brelsfjord
                                                             1946). Fishing rods with more than one line are
                                                             known from paintings found in Egyptian tombs of
                                                             c. 1400 BC (Figure 9.8); it is not known whether
                                                             these were used for sport only or also for commer-
                                                             cial fishing. Moreover, there are also paintings of
                                                             fishing rods with one line ending in two branches
                                                             with one hook each (Figure 9.9). The use of a pole
Figure 9.6 Korean fisherman fishing on the Han River
                                                             with more than one line is also reported from
during winter. The special form of the rod allows the line
to be wound up for storing and drying. (Photo: Chun          another African location where the Batra of Lake
Nam Cho.)                                                    Bangweulu fish with a tough reed to which are tied
                                                             three lines, one carrying two recurved barbless
                                                             hooks, and two with one hook each (MacLaren

Figure 9.7 Fishing for small fishes on the surface concentrated near a large vessel off the coast of Praia, Cape
Verde Islands.
110                                  Fish Catching Methods of the World

                                                         stages of large tunas living near the water surface.
                                                         This is what is usually understood as live bait pole-
                                                         and-line fishing or ‘poling’ (Ben-Yami 1980). In this
                                                         fishery, the bamboo poles can be 2 to >3 m long with
                                                         a line of nearly the same length. Barbless hooks are
                                                         used, so the landed fish can be disengaged very
                                                         quickly. The hooks are baited either with live bait
                                                         or with artificial lures. ‘Chumming’, the method of
                                                         scattering live bait fish, and water spraying, are used
                                                         to keep the tuna near the fishing boat within reach
                                                         of the poles. Different reasons are given to explain
                                                         why water spraying is effective in this fishery. One
                                                         explanation is that the water sprayed on the surface
                                                         of the sea prevents the fish from seeing the move-
                                                         ments of the fishermen and the boats and being
Figure 9.8 Egyptian drawing of pole-and-line fishing      frightened away. Another explanation is that the
(c. 1400 BC). The pole may have more than one line.
                                                         sound of sprayed water is similar to that of small
                                                         fleeing fish jumping over the water. Special arrange-
                                                         ments are made for the fishing crew to stand on out-
                                                         board platforms (racks) rigged along the bulwarks
                                                         below deck level, a few feet above the water-line
                                                         (Figure 9.10). The hook is operated near the water
                                                         level when bait fish are scattered over the sea. The
                                                         hooked fish are swung on board, and release them-
                                                         selves from the barbless hook when they touch the
                                                         deck of the vessel. In traditional fisheries for
                                                         smaller fish the prey is swung under the left arm
                                                         and liberated from the hook by hand (Figure 9.11).
                                                         Different techniques have been developed to catch
                                                         larger pelagic fish without breaking the pole. In
                                                         contrast to sport fishing, commercial fisheries do
                                                         not give the fish a chance to escape by using a
Figure 9.9 Old Egyptian drawings of pole-and-line
fishing with two lines. (Drawing: G. Pullem.)             longer and finer rod – which means a more easily
                                                         breakable one – or by using finer lines according to
                                                         the weight of the fish sought. The American method
1958). In Polynesia also, bonito is fished with rods      for catching larger fish by poling is to connect one
with more than one line. Three, four, and sometimes      single hook with two or more lines to two or even
even five hooks are attached, with their lines, to        three or four fishing rods according to the expected
each bonito rod. But these lines with hooks are not      weight of the fish to be caught. From each rod a line
used at the same time, only one is used, with the        is tied to a common ring from which is connected
others held in reserve. On the butt end of the rod,      the hook with a short line. With this equipment and
old netting or some other material is fixed on which      precise co-operation, four men can swing a fish of
the lines are turned around and the spare hooks          > 45 kg on to the deck.
fixed (pers. comm. with Vambez).                             The French use a different method for catching
   Not only can one rod have more than one line          tuna by poling, which also allows them to take
and hook, but one hook can be connected to more          heavier fish without breaking the pole. In this case a
than one pole. Handlines, operated with a pole, are      second line from the top of the rod runs over a block
important in small traditional fisheries and also in      hanging in the rigging of the vessel (Figure 9.12) and
large-scale fisheries such as those for bonito or skip-   ends in the hand of a person called the ‘maroquin’
jack, albacore, frigate mackerel, and the juvenile       placed behind the fisherman with the pole and the
                                        Line Fishing: Gear and Methods                                           111

Figure 9.10 Pole-and-line fishing for tuna in the Caribbean. Fishermen stand on racks lowered outside the vessel.
These racks are provided with sprinklers which, as they spray on to the sea, excite the fish. (Photo: H. Menjaud/FAO.)

Figure 9.11 Pole-and-line fishing for bonito off the Azores. The fish are ‘chummed’ with bait fish by a boy on the
right of the picture. The fish caught are swung under the left arm and detached from the hooks.
112                                 Fish Catching Methods of the World

Figure 9.12 French pole-and-line fishing vessel in the
harbour of Dakar, Senegal (1971). The picture shows
typical French rigging of the lines with poles.

‘ligne à thon’.When the fish is hooked by the person
with the pole it is the job of the second person to     Figure 9.13 Wandering fisherman of Thailand with
haul the large fish on board without putting a load      sticks for setting hooks in shallow water.
on the rod. The French tuna boats have three to
eight such blocks, which needs a crew of six to
sixteen men. These blocks are typical in French         fish when it is taken by the hook. It is better to work
vessels (Figure 9.12) as also are the small power-      with unwatched lines, which may be set in the
blocks for operating a small purse seine for catching   evening and hauled with the catch the next morning
the bait, and the white-painted openings of the inte-   or later. By this means many lines, with possibly
rior illuminated tanks used to keep the bait fish        hundreds of hooks, can be operated at the same
alive. Unfortunately, the problem of this live bait     time. The construction of such a set line, in the sim-
method of fishing is getting enough bait for chum-       plest form, can be similar to a handline, usually with
ming. To catch 1 t (metric tonne) of tuna, roughly      one hook only, but fixed on a rod placed on the
100 kg of live bait fish are needed (Nomura &            shore. Fishing rods, set in great numbers by com-
Yamazaki 1975). Nevertheless, pole-and-line fishing      mercial fishermen, can often be seen in Asiatic
is one of the most interesting methods of catching      countries as well as in the Old and New Worlds.
oceanic surface fish (Lundbeck 1972).                    These rods carry fishing lines with one or even
                                                        several hooks. It is common practice, too, for some
                                                        of these to be set at suitable places during the night.
9.3 Set lines                                           This can be done very easily because a fishing rod
Simple handlines have one or a few hooks only,          can be thrust firmly into the ground on the beach
which means that the catch is restricted. Moreover,     or in shallow water so that the baited hook floats
handlines must be watched during fishing in order        freely in the water (Figure 9.13).
to set the hook in the fish at the right moment so          Another set line well-known in north European
the fish does not hook itself. But commercial fish-       fisheries is the so-called ‘roll line’. This is a wooden
ermen need large catches to earn money. Therefore       prong on which the twine is rolled and lightly fas-
the commercial fisherman tries to replace handlines      tened so that it unrolls easily and quickly when the
that have to be constantly watched, with ‘semi-         fish bites, and so follows the pull of the fish (Figures
watched’ lines, which do not have to be held but        9.14 and 10.1). Such roll lines are attached to trees
simply need someone to be on hand to secure the         on the beach or to rods that can be set, even over
                                        Line Fishing: Gear and Methods                                          113

                                                           Figure 9.16 Set line with alarm bell, in the Moskva River
                                                           near Moscow.

Figure 9.14 Simple set lines: (a) roll line; (b) Swedish
ice line; (c) set line for salmon formerly used in the
eastern part of the Baltic.
                                                           northern areas, e.g. in Scandinavia (Ormstad &
                                                           Rom 1972). This type of set line has to be semi-
                                                           watched all the time. To supervise a greater number
                                                           of these lines set on the ice, signal devices have been
                                                           invented, which enable fishermen to see from afar
                                                           when a fish has taken the bait (Figure 9.14c). Such
                                                           a device can be a pliable stick (e.g. of horn) which
                                                           is set free, showing a vibrating red-coloured piece
                                                           of cork on its top as soon as a fish has taken the
                                                           hook (Figure 9.14b). These alarm devices, also often
                                                           in the form of small bells, were known many
                                                           years ago and used in China with various fishing
                                                           gear. They are used by many sport fishermen as
                                                           well as by commercial fishermen for their wide-
                                                           spread set lines (Figure 9.16). Set lines with a single
                                                           hook or only a few hooks are operated in fresh
                                                           water as well as in coastal water. In the simplest
                                                           form, the hook is held by a line stretched between
                                                           a sinker on the bottom and a float on the surface.
                                                           Such lines are used to catch the more valuable
                                                           fishes such as salmon, but also some sharks.
                                                           Such fishing lines can remain unwatched for a
                                                           certain time, but in some fishing areas it is impossi-
                                                           ble to set lines, nets or traps to last for any
                                                           length of time because predatory fish and crabs
                                                           would be apt to eat any fish caught. This is particu-
Figure 9.15 Ice fishing lines: above, handline; below,      larly so in the warm waters of tropical and sub-
Finnish line with the hook hanging on a flexible strip of
horn placed on the surface of the ice.
                                                           tropical areas such as in the Mediterranean. Hem-
                                                           ingway’s famous story The Old Man and the Sea
                                                           describes most graphically how his character, a
ice. A line with a single hook can also be set on ice      veteran fisherman, lost a prize game fish through
with the line and hook duly baited hanging through         attack by sharks. Even in northern countries, fish
a hole into the water (Figures 9.14 and 9.15).             suspended on a line can easily be snatched by
Fishing with set lines as ice lines is practised in        sharks or seals.
114                                Fish Catching Methods of the World

9.4 Bottom longlines
As explained before, lines with a single hook or
only a few hooks may be sufficient for small-scale
fisheries or for catching a small number of high-
priced fish. But in commercial fisheries there will
always be a tendency to increase the number of
hooks as much as possible. This has been done with
handlines in the form of so-called ‘vertical long-
lines’ (Figure 9.1i), when the number of hooks
cannot amount to more than 100 for technical
reasons. By contrast an almost unlimited number of
hooks can be operated with a form of set line called
the longline, operated in a more or less horizontal
configuration. There can be hundreds or even thou-
sands of hooks, each fixed to the main line with a
short line called a branch line (snood, leader,
dropper-line, dropline or dropper, gangion or
gangin) (Figure 9.17). This ‘longline system’ is one
of the basic types of gear construction and is known
in other forms of fishing as explained later.
   Bottom longlines with many hooks have been
known in northern Europe and in the Mediter-
ranean area as well as in the Far East since early
times. In Norway, longlines were known at least
since the middle of the 16th century. However, the
belief that longlines may be ‘one of the original      Figure 9.17 Bottom longlines: (a) European longline for
African fishing methods’ operated in the great          eels, with clamp for storing the hooks; (b) with alternate
                                                       sinkers and floats (from Peters 1935 with permission);
lakes of eastern Africa (Hickling 1961) is doubtful.   (c) Portuguese longline for cod fishing by dory-men. The
For bottom longlines, the ground should be fairly      semi-pelagic line hangs at some distance above the
regular since projecting rocks or coral heads may      seabed.
chafe and break the lines, or entangle them in such
a way that they cannot be retrieved. Where muddy
bottoms are found, the longlines are not set to rest   be too short as short ones are considered to be less
on the bottom but are held off the seabed by floats     effective than long ones. With longlines operated
as demonstrated in Figure 9.17(b) and (c); these can   from boats, the length of the branch lines should
be arranged so that they suspend the bait at any       relate to the freeboard of the vessel that is used.
desired distance from the bottom.                      When the main line is held, the branch line must be
   Many investigations (Bjordal 1981) have found       long enough to reach at least to the surface of the
that the efficiency of longlines (and also of pelagic   water, so that the fish can be gaffed and pulled
longlines mentioned in the next section) is influ-      aboard the vessel without its full weight bearing on
enced not only by the design of the hook and the       the branch line or on the hook (NN 1963), and
type, size and shape of the bait, but also by the      without the next fish being lifted clear of the water
material, length and spacing of the snoods. Their      (Burgess 1973). The snoods can be more or less per-
distance from each other should be at least twice      manent and knotted directly onto the main line.
that of their length to avoid entangling. Moreover,    They can also be fixed with removable stainless
bottom longlines with snoods set at wider spacings     steel spring clips (Figure 9.18). This has the advan-
fish better than those with the branch lines set more   tage that the snoods can be exchanged easily and
closely together (Lefevre 1969), and they need less    can be stored separately, and their spacing on the
bait for the same area. The snoods should also not     main line can be altered when necessary, e.g. for
                                       Line Fishing: Gear and Methods                                         115

Figure 9.18 Clips for fixing branch lines (snoods) onto
the longlines.

increasing hook spacing with decreasing fish
density and vice versa.                                  Figure 9.19 Longline with by-lines in Tanshui, Taiwan.
   Nowadays the main line and snoods are often
made of monofilaments. In this case the snoods can
be connected with swivels, which have the benefit
of eliminating entanglements of the snoods, so
reducing the labour of gear handling (Bjordal
1981). The efficiency of the longlines made of
monofilaments is also improved by their lower vis-
ibility and their ‘fineness’ (thin dimensions)
(Bjordal & Løkkeborg 1996).
   In most parts of the world the branch lines are
usually of equal length, but on their longlines for
catching sea bream, the Chinese use a different
concept; they place longer by-lines at certain dis-
tances on the main line. These longer subsidiary         Figure 9.20 Chinese longlines: (a) Sea bream bottom
lines act like main lines and carry a number of small    line with by-lines with many branches for hooks; (b)
                                                         shark bottom line with branch lines of different lengths.
branch lines with hooks (Chen 1960). Apparently          (From Liu 1957 with permission.)
such a build up of by-lines is to be found exclusively
in Chinese fisheries (Figures 9.19 and 9.20a). The
Chinese also know about near-bottom longlines for        ladder-like implements are used for the same
sharks, on which there are short fixed branch lines       purpose (Figure 9.21). In sea fisheries, baskets
and longer ones with stronger hooks (Figure 9.20b).      (mostly), tubes and wooden or plastic boxes are
Bottom-set longlines, sometimes with as many as          used for storing the whole line including the snoods
several thousand hooks, are well known in many           with hooks. Often each single unbaited hook is
parts of the world and are used in both seawater         fixed on a ledge of cork or rush or the hooks are
and freshwater fisheries. Large longlines are usually     stuck into the straw-covered rim of the basket or
divided into sections to facilitate handling and         let hang over the rim of the basket. Sometimes the
operation. During shooting, the sections are tied        baskets have special lipped edges to store the
together and the longlines are set in ‘strings’ or       baited hooks (Figure 9.22).
‘fleets’.                                                    In most cases longlines are set from a vessel
   Different methods are used for storing longlines,     sailing with different speed according to the long-
such as hanging the hooks on wooden clamps, as is        line to be shot. The line, or a section, starts and fin-
sometimes done with freshwater lines where the           ishes with an anchor and is marked by buoys, flags,
number of hooks is fewer (Figure 9.17a). Also            radar reflectors or lights to show at night. In some
116                                  Fish Catching Methods of the World

Figure 9.21 Freshwater longline for eel fishing stored
on a ladder-like implement in a lake fishery of Northern
                                                          Figure 9.23 Sailing rafts for longlines: (a) reconstruction
                                                          of a so-called ‘Pieptauschiff’ used in olden times by fish-
                                                          ermen of Heligoland for the ray fishery; (b) Italian
                                                          ‘Palamito a vela’; (c) Japanese sailing raft. (From NN
                                                          1959 with permission).

                                                          similar to that used on the handlines described
                                                          earlier. To achieve this satisfactorily the main line
                                                          (with the branch lines carrying the hooks), is laid
                                                          out in an S-curve on the beach. A light twine with
                                                          a button is tied to the weight. This button fits into
                                                          the prong-shaped end of a stick. By means of that
                                                          stick the longline is then swung out, as in fly fishing,
                                                          and so the longline is cast far out into the sea
                                                          (Bickerdyke 1895). This method is not only known
                                                          in Great Britain but also in Australia and New
                                                          Zealand (Doogue 1977).
                                                             Another method of using longlines from the
                                                          beach is to fasten one end of the line on the beach
                                                          while the other is towed away from the land by a raft
Figure 9.22 Italian fisherman of Lipari Island preparing   sailing before the wind. This idea has been devel-
a basket for longlining (1979).
                                                          oped in various parts of the world, e.g. the fishermen
                                                          of Heligoland had the ‘Pieptauschiff’ (Figure 9.23a)
traditional fisheries, methods are known of how to         for setting longlines for catching skate; the Italians
set a longline from a beach without a boat. In this       have the ‘Palamito a vela’ (Figure 9.23b) for line
case the line can be cast out by means of a weight        fishing for garfish; and the Japanese also use sailing
                                          Line Fishing: Gear and Methods                                             117

Figure 9.24 Plan for setting a driftline from the shore (or
an anchored buoy) with the help of a small sailing float
made of cork. (From Marin & Gilles 1978 with permis-
sion.)                                                        a

rafts to carry longlines from their boats to catch sea
perch and mullet (Figure 9.23c). Of course there are
not only bottom longlines but also driftlines which
are set in this way. This is outlined in a French pro-
posal, made in 1978 (Figure 9.24), for a small
‘unmanned’ sailing boat, made from cork, which can
set a (drifting) longline not only from the shore but
also from an anchored buoy (Marin & Gilles 1978).
In the latter case the line can follow the current.
   The most technically advanced sailing craft for
towing out fishing lines from the beach is the so-
called ‘Kon Tiki’ sailing raft of New Zealand. It is
considered to be a development of the Italian
‘Palamito a vela’ mentioned previously. Figure                b
9.25a gives a simple wooden form of this raft,
                                                              Figure 9.25 ‘Kon-Tiki’ sailing rafts for setting shark-lines
together with a longline stored in a wooden box.              from the shore in New Zealand: (a) simple construction
There are also other types of construction, not only          for towing a longline from the shore; (b) complicated
larger but also more complicated (Figure 9.25b),              construction of galvanized iron for setting a vertical long-
which are said to be some of the most efficient in             line in the desired position offshore. (From Doogue 1977
use (Doogue 1977). In these, the floats are made of            with permission.)
galvanized iron, 1.5 m long. As soon as the land-line,
according to its length, has been towed by the raft           also in deeper ones. Only a few examples can be
to the desired position offshore, the line keeping            given. Icelandic longliners, fishing for cod, operate
the mast upright is set free by a simple mechanism;           a bottom longline with sections of different lengths
the mast falls forward, drops the sail and releases           carrying from 100 to 400 hooks each. The total
the sinker of a vertical longline stored with paper-          line can be more than 30 km long with 20 000 to
wrapped baited hooks on a small winch.                        30 000 hooks. The hooks are baited and this takes a
   On the Spanish coast they have even made use               long time; baiting 20 000 hooks will take six men
of children’s kites for setting longlines from the            10 h!
beach. One end of the longline is made fast on the               An important longline in sea fishery is that used
beach and the other, tied to a kite’s tail, is then           for halibut in the Pacific. This is a bottom-set line
towed off by the wind (de Luna 1948).                         with baited hooks, divided into many single units.
   Bottom longlines are operated in fresh waters as           Each unit was originally the amount of set line
well as in sea waters, not only in shallow waters but         which one person could conveniently handle. Each
118                                 Fish Catching Methods of the World

vessel carries 50 or more units of longline, each of
250–300 fathoms. The gear is set while the vessel is    9.5 Driftlines
proceeding at full speed. Various numbers of the        Bottom-set lines with few or many hooks are
units are tied end to end in a ‘string’ and the two     anchored at a certain place and have to be found by
ends of that string are anchored and marked by          the fish on its daily migration for food. Therefore it
buoys with flags or lights to show at night (Scofield     is necessary to know the right place for setting to be
1947).                                                  successful. In contrast to bottom lines, driftlines are
   In eel fisheries, two fishermen can bait and shoot     kept on the surface or in mid-water by floats, and the
1000 hooks in 2 h; more experienced fishermen can        depth to which they fish is regulated by the length of
manage 2000 hooks in the same time, but in lake         the line hanging from the float. They are not limited
fishing only 150–300 hooks are needed for one line,      to any specific place, but can operate over large
and in rivers it may be much fewer – perhaps 30 to      areas. ‘The driftline searches for the fish’ is a fishing
50 hooks. There are many types of bottom longlines      slogan. Like bottom-set lines, driftlines can have a
varying both in length and in the numbers of hooks.     single hook, or several, or they can be vertical or
The short longlines set for cod by Portuguese dory-     horizontal longlines with many hooks.
fishermen have to be mentioned as well as the long          In principle, the construction of driftlines does
lines used for ‘Golden-thread’ Nemipterus virgatus      not differ from the sedentary fishing lines previ-
off the Hong Kong coast (Au Lai-Shing 1970), or         ously described (Figure 9.26). Small driftlines with
for groupers, sea bream or shark in many parts of       a single hook only are used in freshwater and
the world. They are also used for haddock, hake,        inshore fisheries. The heavy drifting longlines with
pollock and all forms of flatfish. In Thailand, crabs     some thousands of hooks are typical in high seas
are caught with baited longlines during the night.      fisheries. On enclosed waters such as lakes, the
Of course the hooks have only to hold the bait          fishing lines can be allowed to drift freely, attached
which will be taken by the crabs. As stated at the      to a float. Experienced fishermen know in which
beginning of Chapter 8, with hookless lines crabs       direction such lines may drift (e.g. throughout the
continue to hold the bait when taken out of the         night) and where to find them again. If a fish does
water.                                                  take the hook the float acts as a brake to tire the
   In contrast to handlines and also some smaller       fish and prevent its possible escape. Drifting long-
types of set lines, fishing with longlines is consid-    lines used in sea fisheries are mostly not unattended
ered a labour-intensive and time-consuming              but are fastened to a fishing vessel, which recovers
method. Not only does the setting and hauling of        the driftlines in due course. Many small driftlines
some kilometres of line need time and considerable      with a single hook (Figure 9.26a–c) operated in
manpower, but also the baiting of the hooks must        inland and coastal waters can be set at the same
be carried out by helping hands at home, on the         time. Malaysian fishermen watch 20–30 such single
shore, or on the way to the fishing grounds. Fur-        lines with vertically floating cylindrical floats. When
thermore, when the line is hauled, the catch must       the hook is taken this can be seen as a movement
be removed, the hooks must be cleaned, and the          of the float. This can be shown much more impres-
lines and snoods untangled and, if broken, repaired     sively by using floats which change their position
or replaced. Some winches have been introduced          when the hook is taken. Formerly, in the area of the
for hauling, and efforts have been made to solve the    Zaire River, fishermen used shaped floats which
problem of storing longlines with many hooks and        acted as ‘tell-tales’ by turning over when the bait
keeping them clear for setting. Also of interest are    was taken (MacLaren 1958). Figure 9.26a shows a
the hydraulic longline reels which are offered in the   French driftline for pike with a wooden float or
USA, especially for swordfish, shark, tuna, snapper      ‘trimmer’ which will turn upside down when the
and other large fish caught by longlining. These         hook is taken. Because each side of the float has a
efforts have so far not been sufficient and, as will     different colour the catch can be seen very easily.
be shown in Section 9.8, there are now some new         Among the smaller types of attended driftlines is a
attempts being made to convert hand-operated            special Malaysian type (Burdon 1954). The gear
longlining into a modern mechanized fishing              looks like a balance line (Figure 9.27) but the
system.                                                 weight is replaced by a piece of floating wood. This
                                           Line Fishing: Gear and Methods                                          119

                                                               gear is secured by a retrieving line held by a fish-
                                                               erman on the shore. As soon as a fish takes one of
                                                               the two floating hooks, the line is drawn ashore. A
                                                               similar method is known as ‘whipping’ in Hawaii.
                                                               Here the line is directed by a pole 6–8 m long
                                                               (Hosaka 1973). Single driftlines are also used to
                                                               catch large fish such as sharks. Here also the fish
                                                               tires itself by towing the float to and fro, as when
                                                               working with retarders.The use of a retarding effect
                                                               is one of the basic ideas in gear construction.Some-
                                                               times the resistance of a float is considered insuffi-
                                                               cient to tire the prey and therefore special retarders
                                                               have been introduced. For this reason even small
                                                               parachutes have been used for catching tuna with
                                                               driftlines in the Mediterranean (Figure 9.28a)
                                                               (Euziere n.d.), while propeller-like devices are used
                                                               for retarding sharks when fishing with snares
                                                               (Chapter 18) (Figure 9.28b) in Oceania.
                                                                  Today the most important drifting longline in
                                                               commercial use is probably the tuna line (Figure
                                                               9.29). According to tradition, the longline for tuna
                                                               is said to have been invented by the Japanese of the
                                                               Wazayama Prefecture on the Kii Peninsula south-
                                                               east of Honshu > 250 years ago. Originally it was a
                                                               short floating longline with only a few hooks, used

Figure 9.26 Driftlines: (a) French driftline for pike; (b)
driftline for eel in western and eastern Europe; (c)
Javanese driftline for crocodiles; (d) part of driftline for
salmon in the Baltic; (e) drifting longline, tuna type, used
in Malta for swordfish; (f) vertical longlines of Formosa
(from Liu 1956 with permission).

                                                               Figure 9.28 Retarder in line fishing: (a) parachute used
                                                               as ‘freineur’ (brake) in the tuna fishery of the Mediter-
Figure 9.27 Drifting double line from Singapore. (From         ranean; (b) retarder used in Oceania for shark snaring.
Burdon 1954 with permission.)                                  (From Parkinson 1907; Anell 1955 with permission.)
120                                 Fish Catching Methods of the World

Figure 9.29 Section of a Japanese drifting tuna long-
line.                                                   Figure 9.30 Hauling and packing of tuna driftline in
                                                        bags of netting on the French research vessel Coriolis
by inshore fishermen. Such short lines are still used
in Japan for tuna fishing from small fishing boats.
When this fishery was extended to cover tropical         hooks will take > 4 h. The hooks are baited and the
seas where tuna can be caught, this line was            branch lines are fixed on the main line during
enlarged and is considered today to be a very effec-    setting. When the whole line is set, the gear is left
tive gear for tuna, which swim dispersed in the         to drift alone and the vessel returns to the begin-
deeper layers of the sea. This is why some lines are    ning of the driftline for hauling. The line is hauled
reputed to be up to 20 miles long. Tuna longlines,      from the bow with the help of a line-hauling
like most of the longlines in sea fisheries, are com-    machine (Figure 9.30). Nevertheless, hauling can
posed of many sections or ‘sets’. Each set measures     last up to 10 h or more. With a high catching ratio,
150–400 m in length, with 1–12 branch lines each        i.e. the number of tuna caught by 100 hooks, more
bearing one hook. Typical branch lines for tuna         time is needed. The Koreans calculate that setting
longlines consist of three sections and each branch     400 baskets, each with eight hooks, takes 4 h; but
line is attached with a special snap-on metal clip to   hauling the 3200 hooks takes up to 15 h! There is
the main line (Figure 9.29). Each set is stored in a    little spare time to rest. Working in this fashion,
basket, or two sets in one bag of netting. Japanese     from before sunrise to midnight, under tropical
fishing boats, ranging from 200 to 800 gross tonnes      conditions for weeks and months, is very exhaust-
in size, usually carry 350–400 baskets of longline;     ing. Tuna longlining is not only an effective fishing
that means as much as 160 km of line! When each         method but also a very labour-intensive one, which
set has three to five branch lines, with the same        is why the countries undertaking this lucrative
number of hooks, up to 2000 hooks have to be oper-      method of fishing is limited to Japan, Taiwan, Korea
ated. In the Caribbean, 250–400 baskets of six lines    and to some extent South Africa, Cuba and French
each are used, carrying 1500 to 2400 hooks; but the     Oceania. The lines are considered particularly suc-
Korean longliners for tuna are said to shoot and        cessful in the tropical Pacific for big fish at depths
haul up to 3200 hooks a day! The Japanese tuna          from 60 to 250 and even 300 m. This also explains
longline is set early in the morning from the stern     why, not only for bottom longlines but also for drift-
of a vessel. At the end of each unit (basket), a buoy   ing longlines, attempts have been made to mecha-
with a flag or lamp is set. The fishing depth can be      nize this fishing method and, if possible, set the lines
regulated with the help of the length of the buoy       by a computerized system (see later).
line. The same can be done by the speed of the             In contrast to tuna driftlines, other types are not
vessel; at low speeds the buoys are set closer          so popular. In the Baltic, driftlines for salmon are
together and the lines hang deeper. Setting 2000        used even today (Figure 9.26d) when bad weather
                                      Line Fishing: Gear and Methods                                         121

                                                        that the amount of work and the increasing costs of
                                                        manpower on the one side, and the advantages
                                                        of longlining on the other, whether in the form of
                                                        bottom lines or driftlines, have led to many investi-
                                                        gations into how this method can be made more
                                                        economic. As will be shown in Section 9.8, these
                                                        investigations have had some success.

                                                        9.6 Troll lines
                                                        The desire to operate over a larger area, and there-
                                                        fore to make use of a movable fishing line instead
                                                        of a stationary one, lies behind the development
                                                        and use of troll lines. The troll fishing line is trailed
                                                        through a certain area and this can be done better
                                                        from a moving vessel than from the beach. In the
                                                        United States, troll lines are also called ‘trawl lines’,
                                                        which should not be confused with lines used when
                                                        operating a bottom trawl (Chapter 26).
                                                           Trolling is a simple, ancient fishing method, and
                                                        a strange manner of trolling is described by the
                                                        mysterious ‘Dame Juliana Barnes’ in the famous
                                                        Boke of St Albans (1496). This was carried out by
                                                        tying a short line with a hook to the foot of a goose
                                                        and letting the poor bird swim! A similar method
                                                        was described by the admired Izaak Walton (1653)
                                                        in his well-known book The Compleat Angler. This
                                                        was to tie a line with a live bait ‘about the body or
Figure 9.31 Setting of a longline for swordfish, Malta   wings of a goose or duck and chase it over the
(1966).                                                 pond’! I doubt whether these suggestions will be
                                                        accepted today by either commercial or sport
prevents the use of driftnets because the waves roll       In general, trolling means towing one or more
the nets together (Chapter 19). The salmon driftline    lines with an attractive bait or lure behind a moving
in the Baltic can have from 1500 to 3000 hooks.         boat (Figure 9.32). To attract the fish and induce
Each hook must have, by law, a minimum spread           them to accept the bait, special lures have been
according to an agreement between interested            designed which either fascinate by their bright
countries. The construction of the salmon driftline     colour or so imitate a sick fish by tumbling and
has changed frequently in line with the increasing      whirling movements as to make the predator think
or decreasing importance of the fishery, especially      of it as easy prey. Troll lining is thus primarily a
since World War II. In the fisheries of the Far East,    method of attracting and catching predatory fish,
some other types of drifting longlines are used for     and is carried out by commercial and sports fisher-
catching mackerel or hairtails. Longlines similar to    men in the sea as well as in freshwater areas. In sea
those for tuna are also used to catch sharks and        fishing many species of fish are caught by trolling,
swordfish (Figure 9.31). Around Malta, stocks of         including large ones such as tuna and salmon, and
swordfish have been found by experimental fishing         other game fish such as barracuda, Spanish mack-
for tuna with drifting longlines (Figure 9.26e).        erel and marlin. In fresh waters, pike and trout are
   In general, the problems mentioned for bottom        the special targets of trolling.
longlines at the end of Section 9.4 are the same as        In commercial fishing, enticing baits for troll lines
for drifting longlines. It can also be repeated here    can be artificial lures such as bone and feathered jigs
122                                      Fish Catching Methods of the World

                                                               Figure 9.34 Old French spoons for trolling tuna lines.
                                                               (Courtesy Centre d’Etudes et de Recherches Scien-
Figure 9.32 Troll lines: (a) Norwegian ‘Dorg’ (from            tifique, Biarritz.)
Brobak 1952 with permission); (b) spinning hook for
mackerel; (c) English Dartmouth dab line (from Davis
1958 with permission); (d) Norwegian ‘Dypvannsdorg’
(from Brobak 1952 with permission).

Figure 9.33 French double hook for tuna fishing with
troll line. The lure is made of plastic fibres; formerly they
were made of rice straw (Brittany, 1977).
                                                               Figure 9.35 Old types of spoons: (a) (b) medieval
                                                               spoons; (c) prehistoric hook with broad shank found in
                                                               middle Finland (from Vilkuna 1975 with permission).
(Figure 9.33); wooden and plastic plugs or baits in
the shape of octopus, cuttlefish, squid or sardines;
metal spoons and spinners (Figure 9.32b); plastic              medieval hooks found in central Finland (Figure
worms; as well as special arrangements with natural            9.35a, b). The troll lines, with spoons or wooden
bait. It may be that the spoons (Figures 9.34, 9.35            plugs, or with live bait, are considered to be a part of
and 10.12) as used by the Californian salmon fisher-            the old traditional fishery, at least in Europe
men, and by the old French ‘thouniers’, are the                (Vilkuna 1975). According to Heintz (1903), who is
oldest form of fishing tackle. There have been                  considered to have introduced flashing spoons into
Bronze-Age hooks found in northern Germany that                sport fisheries, the old commercial fishery for
look like a combination between a spoon and a                  salmon in Norway used spoons, as did the fishermen
hook (Rau 1884), and these are similar to those                of the upper Italian lakes.The latter sometimes used
                                           Line Fishing: Gear and Methods                                              123

Figure 9.36 Bait for troll lines; left, mackerel for catching Spanish mackerel; right, skipjack for catching marlin (Taiwan,

specific forms in the different lakes (Garda, Como,
etc.), always combined with a swivel at one end and
a triple hook on the other. In Lake Constance, old
spoons were used in the form of a fish or of ‘a spoon
without a handle’. They were made of copper or
nickel or were silver-plated (Klunzinger 1892). In
non-European countries and areas such as Africa,
spoons seem to have been introduced and copied
since ancient times (Brelsfjord 1946).
   Sometimes unbaited glittering hooks, e.g. spin-
ners (Figure 9.32b), are sufficient for trolling. Or if
baited, the bait is often nothing more than a strik-
ing piece of cloth, a coloured ribbon, a bright piece
of the belly flap of a bait fish, straw, or similar mate-         Figure 9.37 Examples of the rigging of troll lines: (a)
rial that is cheaply available in large quantities.             Malaysia; (b) Indonesia. (From Yamamoto 1975 with
Moreover, live bait, or more often dead bait, fixed              permission.)
on a single hook can be used for trolling in com-
mercial fisheries. To prevent the bait slipping from             special lines and in this case each beam has one line
the hook when trolling, a length of twine is con-               (monofilament 0.70) c. 10 m long, and each is fitted
nected near or with the hook and the fish bait is tied           with a swivel and a large spoon. When a hook is
on with this (Figures 8.9 and 8.22). The bait can also          taken by a fish, the line can be hauled in very easily
be fixed on several hooks in the so-called tandem                by special hauling lines. This is the general princi-
system (Figure 8.23), or fixed to a special spinning             ple of many troll lines. The beams enable the vessel
tackle. Figure 9.36 shows highly developed dead-                to increase the number of hooks (Figure 9.37b).
bait lures for bigger pelagic fish such as marlin or             Another way to keep the lines from entangling each
Spanish mackerel, as operated out of Taiwan. Here               other is to let each line fish at different depths,
the bait fish is not only held by a hook but is also             which is regulated by the use of suitable weights
fixed to a torpedo-like piece of lead for trolling at            (Figure 9.38) or deep shearing boards (planers).
the desired depth.                                              Besides extending the fishery to different depths,
   If only one or two lines are towed by a boat, few            this arrangement also helps keep the many lines
difficulties are encountered. But as commercial                  apart during fishing. Another method of keeping
fishermen must endeavour to catch larger quanti-                 the lines clear is to use otter boards (Chapter 8)
ties of fish, they have to tow many lines simultane-             which spread the trolling lines over a wide area
ously. The problem is then to keep the fishing lines             (Figures 8.30 and 9.39). There are also combina-
from fouling each other. This can be acheived by                tions of weights and deep shearing boards for this
using beams – two or four outriggers – extending                purpose (Figure 9.39).
out from the sides of the vessel. Figure 9.37a shows               Trolling is an important method in the salmon
an example of simple trolling with the help of two              fisheries of North America, particularly on the
beams in Malaysia. The beams are secured by                     Pacific coast. In this case four beams are used, two
124                                  Fish Catching Methods of the World

Figure 9.38 Rigging of troll lines: (a) for mackerel in
Germany; (b) for salmon in British Columbia. The addi-
tion of weights allows hooks to be trolled at different

                                                          Figure 9.40 French ‘thouniers’ in the fishing port of
                                                          Concarneau, with long rods for setting troll lines.

                                                          depths. The troll lines for salmon fishing end with a
                                                          spoon, a plug, or a baited hook. Each troll line is
                                                          supported from the pole by a tag line and is reeled
                                                          in or out by separate gurdy spools driven by the
                                                          main engine. In salmon fishing, small boat stabiliz-
                                                          ers are used and between the line and outrigger a
                                                          shock absorber, in the form of a rubber tube, can
                                                          be fitted. The purpose of the stabilizers is not only
                                                          to eliminate jerking on the line, but also to mini-
                                                          mize the effect of rolling of the vessel in rough
                                                          water during trolling.
                                                             Troll lines are also used to catch different types
                                                          of tuna. One of the earliest examples is probably
                                                          the French method of catching small tuna (espe-
                                                          cially albacore; in French ‘germon’) off the Atlantic
Figure 9.39 Rigging for trolling for sea trout with       coast of Brittany (Figure 9.40) and around the
weights and otter boards in Switzerland.                  Azores. The method is also found on the west coast
                                                          of New Zealand (Figure 9.41). Typical of this fishery
set amidships with two lines each, and two shorter        are vessels with two long beams, in French named
beams with one line each set at the bow (Figure           ‘tangons’. The length of the beams can be up to
9.38b). The stainless steel lines carry lead weights      22 m, but they may be much shorter, 5 m or so,
of different sizes to troll the hooks at different        depending on the size of the vessel. The beams can
                                       Line Fishing: Gear and Methods                                            125

Figure 9.41 Troll liners for tuna in the harbour of Greymouth, New Zealand (1981).

                                                             Figure 9.42 Rigging of a French ‘thounier’ during
                                                             trolling. The beam (tangon) has a flexible extension-
                                                             rod at the end (1). Up to seven troll lines (2) run from
                                                             each beam, over rollers (3), and are protected by a
                                                             shock-absorber (4) from the shock of a fish taking
                                                             a hook. Each troll line can be hauled separately by a
                                                             special line (5), to take in the catch.

be made of wood or steel. The wooden ‘tangons’ of         lines (smaller boats have only one line per beam)
the French are composed of two pieces: a long,            ending with a strong unbarbed or barbed double
strong beam with a short, very elastic rod at the top.    hook. Each hook has an artificial bait, formerly
All beams are connected with the mast of the vessel       made of corn straw but now, in Brittany, often a
(Figures 9.40–9.42). The two beams are held upright       bunch of plastic fibres. In New Zealand they use
when travelling or in the harbour. They are lowered       soft squid-like plastic lures, with and without eyes
to an angle of about 45° to the water surface when        and in different colours, mostly blue, green and
fishing (Figure 9.42). By spacing the lines with such      silver. A piece of rubber is included in each line as
beams, they can be kept at a distance from each           a shock absorber. The French have this between
other. Each of the beams tows four to seven troll         line and snood; the fishermen of New Zealand place
126                                 Fish Catching Methods of the World

it directly on the mast. Also in this case the lines
can have weights added to prevent entangling with
each other. Two or four smaller lines can be towed
from the stern of the vessel so that each boat can
fish with up to 18 lines (sometimes > 20) (von
Brandt 1956). This trolling method was developed
in France in about 1900 for sailing vessels, but much
later, around 1934, motors were introduced.
Some years ago it seemed that the old French
‘thouniers’ in Brittany could not survive the
competition of the pole-and-line boat fishery
and that of the purse seiners (Chapter 29).
However in recent years, new fishing grounds were
found near the Azores for trolling tuna, enabling
the French fishery to recover. The old ‘thouniers’
have since been replaced by multipurpose vessels
such as the ‘thounier/senneur’ (trolling and purse
seining) and the ‘thounier/chalutier’ (trolling and
   Small boats can troll for mackerel. Single lines
are towed or a number of them are held and spread
by a beam. In the Baltic a method was devised to        Figure 9.43 Mechanization of handlines: (a) Danish
increase the number of lines towed by one motor         running line trolling; (b) Norwegian ‘atom-line-trailing’;
                                                        (c) Norwegian method of handling an endless line.
boat by towing two rowing boats with extended
rods keeping the lines apart. By this arrangement a
relatively large area can be covered (Figure 8.30a,
c). The lures used in trolling for mackerel are hooks   interesting form of mechanization which has been
with feathers attached, as are used with handlines.     developed by small-scale fisheries in northern
In some places the feathers are now replaced by         Europe needs to be mentioned. This is fishing with
split fibre bands, which seem to have the same           the ‘roundhauler’; that means with a long line, both
effect. It has already been mentioned that trolling     ends of which have been connected together so that
with shearing boards is also known in fresh water       it becomes an ‘endless trolling line’ (Figures 9.43
fisheries, especially in the Scandinavian countries,     and 9.44). This loop of line, fitted with weights and
Switzerland and southern Germany (Figures 8.30d,        snoods, is moved slowly like a mill wheel. The
8.31, 8.32 and 9.39). The horizontal shearing boards    hooks, mostly baited, enter the water down to a spe-
used, originally of simple construction, are known      cific depth (according to the situation down to c.
by different names meaning seal, dog or duck            100 m or so), return to the surface and are led over
(Hildebrand 1953). Their purpose is the same as in      the vessel so that the catch can be gaffed and the
sea fisheries – to fish an area as wide as 60 m, espe-    hooks rebaited. Hooks with artificial rubber worms
cially for fish of the genus Coregonus. The gear used    (Figure 8.20) are sometimes fastened without any
on Lake Constance (Figure 8.30d) may be of special      snood directly on to the line (Meschkat 1950). This
interest, because not only are otter boards with a      method is something between handlining, longlin-
line tied on operated, but also sometimes more than     ing and trolling. In northern Europe the round-
one fishing line is fixed to the connecting line          hauler is used for fishing cod, saithe or haddock,
between the otterboard and vessel.                      and in Norway especially for mackerel and coalfish.
                                                        The idea is not so surprising because when fishing
                                                        for mackerel with feather hooks off the Irish coast
9.7 Fishing with roundhaulers                           the handlines, with maybe 15 branch lines and
Before discussing modern attempts to mechanize          hooks with feathers for luring, are plunged into the
line fishing, especially in large-scale fisheries, an     water and taken out immediately each hook is
                                       Line Fishing: Gear and Methods                                     127

                                                         9.8 Modern progress in line fishing
                                                         Fisheries, especially the commercial ones, have
                                                         always tried to improve their methods – particu-
                                                         larly when these changes are in agreement with
                                                         modern trends in working methods. In developing
                                                         fisheries, sometimes only the fact that materials
                                                         made of synthetic fibres (more expensive than the
                                                         traditional ones) are introduced into an old known
                                                         fishing method can be considered evidence that the
                                                         fishermen believe the method has a future. Another
                                                         hint suggesting the favourable judgment of a fishing
                                                         method is the introduction of mechanization, ini-
                                                         tially man-powered, later powered by motor-driven
                                                         machines, to adapt a fishing method to modern
                                                         needs. Line fishing is an example of this develop-
                                                         ment, as will be seen in the following paragraphs, as
                                                         also is trawling (Chapters 26 and 27), purse seining
                                                         (Chapter 29) and gillnetting (Chapter 19).
                                                            The gear for line fishing is simple, usually needs
                                                         no special arrangement for handling, and can be
                                                         operated from any vessel or even a raft. In other
                                                         words, line fishing may, in some circumstances, be
                                                         considered a fishing method requiring little invest-
                                                         ment. This may be true today for some small-scale
                                                         fisheries, but is no longer the case in modern com-
                                                         mercial fisheries, which need large catches to be
Figure 9.44 Improved mounting of a ‘roundhauler’.        economic. Larger catches require not only more
                                                         effective gear but also increased fishing effort by
                                                         using more lines, more hooks and making more sets.
                                                         This becomes necessary as the catch per hundred
taken by a fish. With the roundhauler the idea is to      or thousand hooks decreases more and more. To
work the line continuously, taking out one hook          compensate for this, more lines are set. More lines
after the other and returning it to the water imme-      and more hooks also means more manual labour,
diately after releasing the fish. As far as is known it   which then becomes limited by increasing costs, as
was a Danish fisherman who first used an endless           can be seen from the earlier example of tuna
line led down a stove-pipe for continuous fishing.        longlining.
Later on, more specialized pipes were used for this         Different types of winding devices such as spools
purpose (Figure 9.43a) and it was named ‘rolling         and reels have been introduced for hauling and
line trolling’. A simpler device is to lead the free     storing handlines. When fishing, the reels are placed
line along a beam and over a roller on each end of       in sockets along the gunwale and are powered by a
the vessel, as in Norway (Figure 9.43c). Figure 9.44     manually operated hand crank as shown in Figure
shows an improved form, in which the line is carried     9.5. The next stage of development was to replace
out with the help of a V-shaped hydraulic line           hand operation of the reel by a small electric motor
sheave led over an outrigger block into the sea,         fixed between reel and outrigger. The introduction
travelling down to the required depth and return-        of motors for hauling, together with the use of syn-
ing to the vessel on the other side. Although this       thetic fibres, has opened up opportunities for fishing
method is not new, it seems to be becoming more          in deeper water (Kawagushi 1974). This idea has
popular in small-scale fisheries, especially in           been adopted especially for cod fishing with auto-
Norway.                                                  matic deep-sea fishing reels, and has become an
128                                  Fish Catching Methods of the World

example of mechanization in fishing methods. Dif-         with hand-operated methods can be seen by the
ferent models were introduced in commercial fish-         fact that one man can operate up to six lines.
eries according to local needs. Working more or less        Another form of handlining which adopted auto-
fully automatically, the apparatus plays out the line    matic fishing methods is the pole-and-line fishery
to a predetermined depth or until it reaches the         for skipjack, albacore, yellowfin and bluefin tuna.
bottom. The line stays there or is jigged at a given     Very simple constructions were devised for
rate and distance. When the fish take the hook, the       working with an endless line, with many short
weight or pull causes the reel to begin to haul in the   branch lines, replacing hand lines tied to poles. This
line. There are machines which let out more line         endless line ran from a rectangular frame fixed to
with increasing pull-force of the fish, and haul the      the rail of the vessel, into the sea and returned to
line in again with lower pull, as is usual with hand-    bring in the catch (Iwashita et al. 1967), but this
lines playing a big fish like a salmon. After hauling     early idea was not that successful. More successful
the fish to the surface, the motor stops automati-        was an automated pole-and-line method that simu-
cally and remains stationary until the fish is            lated the well-tried manual method. The fishing
removed by the fisherman. Some machines give an           rods are now moved by machines fixed on or near
acoustic signal when a fish is hooked. The advan-         the rail (Figure 9.45). This method imitates all types
tage of such automatic machines in comparison            of catching by hand. It operates by dropping the

Figure 9.45 Automatic pole-and-line fishery on a Japanese skipjack vessel. (Photo: Iwatan and Co, Tokyo.)
                                         Line Fishing: Gear and Methods                                       129

Figure 9.46 Hydraulic winch for hauling lines or gillnets
by small vessels. (From Kaulin 1969 with permission.)

line; luring the fish by small up and down move-
ments of the fishing rod; quickly hooking the fish            Figure 9.47 Japanese machine for hauling and coiling
and swinging it on to the deck; automatically               tuna longline on the French research vessel Coriolis.
removing the fish by shaking it off; re-dropping the
cleared hook overboard into the water and resum-            hauled and coiled by special winches (Figures 9.30
ing fishing. According to the different models for           and 9.47), but every other operation, such as con-
mechanical ‘poling’, the pole can be inside, on, or         necting, disconnecting and storing the branch lines
outside the rail. In the last form, landing near the        and buoy lines; the re-baiting of the hooks and
rail is possible. A modern rod can be of glass fibre,        removal of fish; and the casting of the line, has had
from 3 to nearly 5 m long and suitable for fish              to be done by hand. Overcoming these labour
weighing up to 30 kg or more. A single person can           requirements and making longline fishing less
control four to eight units.                                labour-intensive may decide what chance of sur-
   In longlining also, for bottom lines as well as for      vival this type of fishing will have in the future.
driftlines, hand-driven reels have been introduced          Therefore, many experiments have been under-
in a few cases as mentioned at the end of Section 9.4.      taken for mechanizing longlining in the Japanese
In this case the trend to mechanize the whole oper-         tuna fishery. Up till now, two systems have had
ation, or at least a part of it, was because the            some chance of success – the reel system and the
methods used so far for longlining made it, like            line winder system (Figure 9.48).
handlining, a comparatively uneconomic form of                 In the ‘reel system longline fishing method’ the
fishing (Roughley 1968). Special types of powered            line is set and hauled by a drum, which also stores
winches were developed for hauling longlines                the whole line as one unit. Storing longlines on
(Kaulin 1969) to reduce labour requirements and             drums is not a new idea (Figure 9.49). It is no longer
increase productivity. Most of these small hydraulic        necessary to connect or disconnect the line units
winches are also usable for hauling gillnets (Figure        and store them in single baskets or bags. A single
9.46).                                                      undivided line is cast out and hauled when using a
   Tuna longlining operators were especially inter-         drum (Figure 9.48a). The branch lines and float
ested in a system for mechanizing the handling of           lines are fixed to the main line by a special ‘coupling
their driftlines (Figure 9.29) with up to 2000 or           apparatus’. Depending on the weight of the drum,
more hooks. Until recently, these lines have been           the vessel should not be too small and should have
130                                    Fish Catching Methods of the World

Figure 9.48 Systems for hauling (right) and casting (left) Japanese tuna longlines: (a) reel system for larger vessels;
(b) line winder for small vessels.

                                                             is also used, and this is coiled into special storage
                                                             hatches during hauling with the help of a line
                                                             winder. The branch lines have to be removed by
                                                             hand. When casting, the line, after passing the line
                                                             caster, has to be attached to branch lines and floats.
                                                                Mechanized longlining is of interest not only for
                                                             big game fish like tuna, shark and swordfish but also
                                                             for many other types of fish caught in large quanti-
                                                             ties by smaller vessels. Such a catch is of superior
                                                             quality because less damage is done to the fish by
                                                             the hooks than by other gear. Some of the northern
                                                             fish caught by longlining are dogfish (Squalus acan-
                                                             thias), ling (Molva molva) and tusk (Brosme
                                                             brosme), silver hake (Merluccius merluccius) and
                                                             cod (Gadus morhua), Pacific cod (Gadus macro-
                                                             cephalus) and black cod (Pollachius virens).
                                                                In northern Europe longlining for cod is impor-
                                                             tant, but sometimes uneconomic in its traditional
                                                             form because it is labour intensive. Some thousands
                                                             of hooks have to be paid out every day. The hooks
                                                             have to be baited normally in advance, or when
Figure 9.49 Longline stored on a drum in Seattle.            shooting the line (‘bait-as-you-shoot’ method).
(Photo: J. Schärfe, 1968.)
                                                             Hauling of the lines, with so many hooks, can take
                                                             > 10 h. Moreover. the line has to be prepared for use
an engine of at least 200 hp. Since 1966 many Japan-         the next day by untangling the snoods and cleaning
ese vessels have used drums or reels for longlining          the hooks. Finally the catch has to be gutted and
even when the snoods have had to be handled by               stored in ice. Here we have the same problem of
hand. A practical method for small boats is the line         labour-intensity as with tuna longlining in the
winder system (Figure 9.48b) needing an operating            tropics, but the northern fisheries may have been
power of as low as c. 5 hp. With this system one line        making the first steps towards mechanized
                                          Line Fishing: Gear and Methods                                              131

longlining systems when, at the end of the 1960s,               fish was removed and the hook cleaned (whether
new ideas arose for a fully mechanized longline                 or not it had taken a fish); the guide tubes which
handling system including automatic baiting. Auto-              carried the line and hooks, preventing snags and
matic baiting machines, even when used alone,                   protecting the crew from hook injuries; the mecha-
brought the first real progress. ‘Baiter’ machines cut           nisms for unravelling and disentangling snoods
the whole bait fish into the right size pieces and               from the main line; and the separator mechanism
enabled hooks to pick up the bait as the line was               for removing the hooks from the main line and
being shot. This was considered great progress,                 storing them on racks below decks while the main
especially as baiting often had to be done under bad            line was coiled onto a drum (Figure 9.50). At this
weather conditions on the unsheltered deck. But                 point there is a chance for personal inspection of
baiting machines alone are not enough. The Japan-               the line and possibly replacement of some parts, if
ese are using powered drums to store the main line,             necessary, before the longline is set again after
and the permanently attached snoods have been                   passing a cutting and baiting machine operating at
replaced by detachable snoods fastened by clips                 the speed at which the line is pulled out. Any vessel
(Figure 9.18), which permit quicker automatic                   larger than 12 m can operate this system as long as
replacement of the snoods and hooks. Then came                  there is adequate space available. The large Nor-
special machines to free twisted branch lines from              wegian longliners operate up to 40 000 hooks.
the main line. The new ‘disentangler’ also cleaned                 The system described above may be considered a
the hook of bait and coiled up the main line.                   fully automatic one. The fisherman does not have
   At the beginning of the 1970s, the first fully                too much work; he only has to see that the whole
mechanized handling system for bottom longlines                 process is operating. Such a system is expensive.
was introduced in Norway – the so-called ‘autoline              Less investment is necessary when some work is
system’. Such a system had to cover all operations,             done by fishermen, e.g. when the snoods are
including cleaning and baiting the hooks and                    detached and stored by hand; when baiting is done
hauling, storing and setting the lines (NN 1971).               manually, or when the lines are stored in sections on
Some of the key developments were: the hauling                  drums which have to be handled by people. Such
mechanism; the hauler and toiler which pulled the               semi-mechanization is useful on smaller vessels
line through the gunwale rollers where the caught               (< 12 m) operating in small-scale fisheries. Less

Figure 9.50 Plan of the Norwegian ‘autoline system’ for automatic longlining. (Courtesy of Mustad & Son, Oslo.)
Hauling the line: (1) fish is gaffed before rail roll; (2) hook cleaner; (3) line hauler – line with hooks is guided through
tubes to (4) twist remover; (5) hook separator separates hooks from groundline and hangs them in (6) magazines.
Setting the line: (7) baiting machine.
132                                   Fish Catching Methods of the World

money and space is needed but the basic work                 especially for small and medium-sized vessels
remains always the same: hauling the line; unload-           (Figure 9.51). The problems to be resolved are the
ing the fish; removing twists on the snoods; cleaning         same as referred to earlier but the solution is dif-
the hooks; storing the snoods, detached or un-               ferent. When hauling, the line is towed over an
detached; storing the line, with or without snoods,          adjustable gunwale roller (Figure 9.51:1), which is
complete or in sections; and, at the beginning of            an unwinder roller preventing the snoods winding
each new set, cutting the bait; baiting the hooks,           about the main line. Here the hooked fish are taken
manually or mechanically; fastening the snoods               by a crew member by gaffing; the same person can
when detached by hauling, and resetting the gear.            also control the boat during hauling by remote
  Another integrated longline fishing system to               engine and steering controls. The line is hauled by
reduce manpower in line fishing has been devel-               a powered line hauler with idler arm and idler
oped in the USA. It is known as the Marco Tiliner            sheave (Figure 9.51:2). From here the line is guided
(Tison longline fishing system) and is designed               to a take-up powerhead (Figure 9.51:3), on which

Figure 9.51 Plan of the deck arrangement for the American Tiliner system. (Courtesy of Marco, Seattle 1978.) Hauling
the line: (1) adjustable gunwale roller; (2) line hauler; (3) take-up power head; (4) line storage spools. Setting the
line: (5) spool on setting stand; (6) bait-cutting machine; (7) automatic baiter.
                                       Line Fishing: Gear and Methods                                          133

spools are mounted to store the main line together       try Authority (NN 1978, 1979). The aim of this
with the snoods and the hooks. Between the line          system is to offer smaller boats, ranging from 6 to
hauler and the powerhead, a second crew member           24 m, a less expensive arrangement that can be
is placed to control the hauling operation. This is      expanded when needed. In this case the snoods are
done by operating a deadman control pedal. This          not fixed permanently on the mainline but are
means the hauling gear functions only so long as a       clipped on and off as required. The system includes
pedal is pressed down by the foot of the second          automatic baiting as well as automatic attachment
person. Moreover, the second crew member has to          and removal of the clipped-on snoods. For clipping,
remove any remaining bait and place each hook            a special plastic clip has been developed. The
carefully on a spoke of the storage reel. Each reel      advantage is that the entire main line is stored on
can take a line of 600 fathoms (about 1200 m) with       a hydraulically-driven drum, or is hand wound. The
about 600 hooks spaced approximately 2 m apart.          snoods, carrying 200–2000 (or even up to 10 000)
When the reel is full, hauling is stopped and the full   hooks, are removed and stored on special racks, the
reel is replaced by an empty one. The stored reels       so-called ‘carousels’, which gave the system its orig-
have a fixed place on deck near the setting place         inal name. When setting, the snoods are clipped on
(Figure 9.51:4). The spools nest with each other,        again after baiting. According to the original design
allowing compact storage. When setting, a full reel      this had to be done, as formerly, by hand, but addi-
is fixed on the powerhead on the setting stand            tional baiting machines are now available. The
(Figure 9.51:5). Meantime, the bait is prepared to       advantages of this system are low costs and also
the required size in the hydraulic-powered bait          greater resistance to bad weather and heavy seas.
cutter (Figure 9.51:6) for the baiting machine              An Irish scheme for automatic longlining, called
(Figure 9.51:7). The first anchor and buoy are            the ‘Speedoline system’, is based on two units: the
released overboard and the line is run out as the        automatic baiter and the hauling unit with the so-
vessel moves forward. The line with the snoods and       called ‘fish stripper’. When hauling, this stripper
hooks is then pulled through the baiting machine         removes the fish from the hook, if required outside
where the hooks are automatically baited. The            the vessel, over the water, when the fish fall into a
speed of the setting is controlled by a crewman          net bag towed by the boat. This can also be done
applying pressure with his leg to the hydraulic          inboard so that the fish slide into boxes. The hooks
brake lever, leaving his hands free for clipping         are cleaned and guided through tubes, and undam-
floats and weights onto the line. When the required       aged and damaged hooks are separated. The mag-
number of spools is set, the last anchor and buoy        azine has a basket below for storing main line and
line are connected and released to complete the set.     snoods together. Re-shooting can be started when
If inspection of some parts of the line is necessary,    hauling, then the hooks are guided through a baiter
this can be easily carried out by winding the line       before setting.
from its spool on the setting stand onto an empty           In the meantime, more schemes for automatic
spool on the powerhead. Minor repairs, including         longlining are offered. A few are in operation;
removing unwanted bait, can be performed during          others are under development. The final version
hauling by removing the foot from the deadman            may not yet have been found and it may be that
control pedal and briefly stopping hauling. Clean-        more than one system may be useful for longlining
ing the hooks of remains of bait can be achieved         (Bjordal 1981). Their value depends on individual
with a wire brush or high-powered hose. This is not      situations in which one system may be more eco-
difficult because all the hook points with the bait       nomic than another. One problem should not be
on them are exposed on the outside of the spokes         overlooked and this is the safety of the crew when
of the reel. When necessary, a hook-cleaning device      so many hooks are guided over the deck. Guiding
can be set between the hauling gear and the rail         tubes should, therefore, be used whenever possible.
through which the main line with the snoods and
hooks passes.
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           Fishing for Sport and Recreation

All fishing methods have the prime object of                    cial fishing is certainly the most popular sport and
obtaining food, either for the catcher’s own con-              its importance is increasing every year. With the
sumption or for the market or the fish processing               increasing interest in sport fishing, endemic
industry. Nevertheless, there has been, since time             methods have been developed, such as fishing in
immemorial, some form of fishing for recreation –               special freshwater ponds or off the seashore with
and this became the basis of modern sport fishing.              ‘party boats’ and around artificial reefs (see
The definition of this term varies (Royce 1972) and             Chapter 14.4) in the open sea.
sometimes it is difficult to make a clear division                 Sport fishing is equated with angling, and Britain
between commercial fishing and that for sport and               is considered its homeland. However, fishing for
recreation. With some fishing methods there is                  recreation with rod and line may have been known
hardly any difference; in others there is a large one.         for much longer in the Far East, in China, and in
For example, in the casting competitions of sport              Japan. In a Japanese manuscript of the first millen-
fishermen, no more fish are caught, only the skill of            nium AD it was reported that,
handling the gear is decisive. (Since 1936 there have
                                                                ‘the Empress Zingu (170–269 AD) bent a needle
been attempts to bring such casting competitions
                                                               and made it into a hook. She took grains of rice and
into the Olympic games as a special discipline.)
                                                               used them as bait. Pulling out the threads of her
   It has been said that the main difference between
                                                               garment, she made them into a line which was fixed
recreational and commercial fishery is the fact that
                                                               on a rod. Then she stood on a stone in the middle
sport fishermen, in contrast with commercial fish-
                                                               of the river and cast the hook, and was lucky
ermen, catch single fish, and often also individual
                                                               enough to catch a trout when pulling up the rod’
fishes known and studied a long time beforehand.
                                                               (Matuzaki 1940).
Therefore sport fishermen should have a better
knowledge of fish behaviour than commercial fish-                   Some Chinese reports about fishing are much
ermen. This may be true in some cases for large-               older, reaching back to the mysterious time of the
scale fisheries, but not for most artisan and                   first Emperors.
traditional small-scale fisheries. On the other hand,              The fishing rod, even when used in commercial
sport fishermen seek to catch specimen fish which                pole-and-line fishing, is still the special fishing
are considerably larger than the average size for the          tackle of the sport fisherman. Modern sport fisher-
water in which they are caught (Ward 1980).                    men tend to use the rod exclusively for catching
   With increasing urbanization, the wish of humans            fish, but in the Far East, cuttlefish and octopus are
to live in closer contact with nature becomes                  also caught in this manner. This was not always so.
stronger and stronger, and sport fishing gives some             In old books about sport fishing, not only are lines
chance for the realization of this desire when                 mentioned but also different types of traps, spears,
hunting has become no longer accessible for many               harpoons and lift nets are listed as gear for sport
people. In industrial countries such as Western                fishing. Moreover, gear needed for catching crayfish
Europe, North America and Japan, non-commer-                   (von Ehrenkreuz 1852) was also accepted for sport

                                      Fishing for Sport and Recreation                                     137

fishing. In Izaak Walton’s book The Compleat              recreational activities, their development has
Angler (1950) the student was told how to tame an        become ever more luxurious, and uneconomical
otter for fishing. Dredging was also considered an        from the commercial point of view. There are costly
amusement of the seashore (Harvey 1857), and             rods and sophisticated reels, specially made lines
some years ago beamtrawls were offered for sport         and casts, a great number of floats and sinkers, and
fishing by yachtsmen. Nowadays trammel nets are           an innumerable variety of hooks, flies and lures; not
also offered for ‘pleasure boats’, as are seine nets     to mention auxiliary devices for operating the rod
with and without pockets (Chapter 28).                   and line, and for landing the prey. Therefore, this
   In Wisconsin lakes, sport fishermen learned from       chapter can provide only a general description, not
the Indians how to handle harpoons to catch stur-        a comprehensive report, on recreational fishing.
geon under ice in the winter. Spearing flounder in
shallow coastal waters during the night from a boat,
or while wading in the ocean surf (Warlen 1975),
                                                         10.1 Rods and reels
may also be considered more recreational than            The original reason for using a rod may have been
commercial fishing. The same can be said of har-          the desire to move the hook as far away from the
pooning sunfish (Mola mola) (Figure 6.32) in the          fisherman as possible, so that his figure, his move-
Strait of Messina or elsewhere. Nowadays, however,       ments, or his shadow cannot frighten the prey. This
rod and line is the recognized fishing tackle for         is necessary not only when fishing from the shore
sport fishing. Even for such a small gear as a single-    but also from boats, because some fish are consid-
hooked drifting eel line (Figure 9.26b), a special       ered ‘boat shy’. For this, a simple stick from the
book on eel fishing (Loebell 1966) says that this         nearest tree was sufficient, and it is not so long ago
gear is ‘on the border’ between sport and commer-        that recommendations were given on how and
cial fishing. Longlines will never be accepted as gear    when to cut, and how to prepare, a good rod for
for sport fishing: the rod will remain the only           angling. In Europe springy wood was preferred,
acceptable gear. But some forms of commercial            such as hazel. Ash and fir were used until the begin-
fishing gear are required for sport fisheries – at least   ning of last century. This material was then replaced
in fresh water. The knowledge of other fishing            by some tropical woods such as hickory, greenheart,
methods will be necessary to manage fishing waters        ironwood and bamboo. But the fishing rod has to
such as large lakes and other natural or artificial       do more than move the hook away from the angler.
waters that cannot be managed by angling only. In        It also has to help in casting the hook as far as pos-
these, many different catching methods are needed        sible, especially when the line became longer. The
besides the hook and line, including methods for         rod also controls the movement of the bait and
bulk fishing to keep the fish stocks under control.        assists in hooking, fighting and playing the fish. All
Moreover, some sport fishermen collect bait with          this needs a degree of elasticity in the rod, espe-
different types of gear. Where this is not possible,     cially in the top section. As long ago as the 15th
specialized bait fishermen using many different           century it was recommended to fix a piece of mate-
fishing methods catch live bait for sale to sport fish-    rial such as whalebone to the tip of the rod to get
ermen. Recreational fishing with rod and line is one      the necessary elasticity to ‘play’ the fish. Early rods
of the many forms of fishing technique and is linked      made of raw bamboo cane, known as ‘Tonkin’, were
with other fishing methods. This connection with          considered the best. It was found that the outer
other catching methods is explained in Chapters 8        surface of the cane was ideal for rod-making, but
and 9 which discuss hook and line fishing in general.     the inner section was not reliable. Therefore, split
   In sport fishing there are at least the following      cane rods were developed which are constructed of
different methods of using rods: for float fishing,        hexagonal cross-sections of the outer material.
ground fishing (ledgering), spin fishing, fly fishing,       These have the best properties for sport fishing,
and big game fishing.                                     especially for fly fishing.
   Moreover, trolling and jigging are also accepted         Since World War II, synthetic materials such as
in recreational fisheries. The principles of these        fibreglass have been preferred for rod material.
methods are known in commercial fishing, as dis-          Owing to its high tensile strength and flexibility,
cussed in Chapters 8, 9 and 12, but as with most         solid and hollow fibreglass rods have replaced split
138                                 Fish Catching Methods of the World

bamboo rods and even the simple sticks used for
fishing by children. Moreover, hollow fibreglass
rods are much cheaper and stronger than rods
made from split cane. The latest development in
material for constructing rod is carbon fibre. Rods
made of this have higher strength and can therefore
be made smaller and lighter. This lightweight and
very flexible rod, very suitable for fly and spin
fishing, has the disadvantage of having good elec-
trical conductivity. Some people have been killed
by touching overhead power cables with long
carbon fibre rods, and others have suffered shocks
from atmospheric electricity. There are very short
rods with small handles for angling in ice holes and
very long ones, 4 m or more, for shore fishing. In
pole fishing, rods up to 14 m are used. Some people
think that the rod should be just over twice their
own height (Ward 1980).
   Rods are mostly made in two (butt and top) or
three (butt, middle and top) sections. Nowadays
there are also four-section rods for almost all the
available fishing methods, and they are used by
anglers who often travel, especially as airline pas-
sengers. Originally there were objections to divided
rods; perhaps because the joints or ferrules were
not good enough. Divided rods have been consid-         Figure 10.1 Angling rod and line-storing devices: (a)
ered an English whim and some unkind people             Eskimo angling – the line can be wound around the
                                                        length of the rod; (b) French rod of the 18th century with
thought of divided rods as the tackle of fish thieves    the line wound around a separate bobbin; (c) Swedish
– rather like the folded gun of a poacher!              angling rod with triangle to store the line as with a roll
   Originally the line was simply fixed to the top of    line (see Figure 9.14a).
the rod, as is done today with the rods operated in
commercial pole-and-line fisheries (Chapter 9) and
in pole fishing by anglers. In these cases the line is   short fishing rod was developed in Korea many
about the same length as the rod. Often there is a      years ago and is still used today (Figures 9.6 and
need to have a line longer than the rod. The Inuits     10.2). In this method, the line holder, a broad
found a solution to this problem (Figure 10.1a) by      revolving frame on which the line is wound up, is
using a rod with notches cut in each end, enabling      fixed on the top of a short stick. Operating a line
the line to be wound lengthwise. A method devised       longer than the rod can also be achieved by fixing
in France (Figure 10.1b) was to wind the line           a reel on the side of the rod to store the line, as is
around a separate reel. It may be that the use of       done for ice fishing (Figure 9.14b). Such reels, also
separate sticks and boards to wind up lines was the     with stopping devices, were already known for
oldest method. The Egyptians wound up the               handlines (Klunzinger 1892). The Chinese were the
retrieving lines for their fishing spears on separate    first to combine such a reel with a rod some hun-
rolls c. 4000 years ago, and the fishermen of Nepal      dreds of years ago, as can be seen from the 13th
do this with a board for their angling lines today      century painting in Figure 10.3. There is also a 12th
(Shrestha 1979). Another idea developed in              century woodprint showing a similar arrangement
Sweden was to fix a triangular line-holder at the top    (Trench 1974). It is thought that this reel and rod
of the stick (Figure 10.1c) similar to the roll-line    arrangement was known in China at least since the
used when fishing with set lines (Figure 9.14a). Yet     11th century (Leroi-Gourhan 1945). The same reel
another solution for combining a longer line with a     is shown in a drawing of the last century (Figure
                                      Fishing for Sport and Recreation                                    139

                                                         Figure 10.4 Old Chinese rod with reel for catching
                                                         turtles. (From de Thiersant 1872 with permission.)

                                                         dreds of metres long. In sea fisheries, running lines
                                                         of > 1000 m are used.
Figure 10.2 Korean angling rod with a revolving spool       The reels are not only used to store a long fishing
for the line.                                            line; they are also used in spinning and playing the
                                                         fish. Modern reels are no longer as simple as the
                                                         early reels used with handlines without a stick.
                                                         Today there are highly sophisticated and expensive
                                                         reels, carefully designed for the different methods
                                                         of fishing with rods (Figure 10.5). It is not quite
                                                         clear when the first reels were used in Europe. It
                                                         may have been somewhere between 1651 and 1655
                                                         (Trench 1974) – if the interpretation of some old
Figure 10.3 Chinese fisherman with rod and reel           books is correct – but, as mentioned before, reels
according to a painting of Ma Jüan, 13th century.
                                                         were used much earlier in other countries. The first
                                                         European reels for rod fishing were heavy large
10.4). These reels are used today in Taiwan but are      reels made of wood (Doogue 1974). However, these
now made of plastic. The Chinese have made many          were inclined to warp owing to contact with water,
basic contributions to developments in fisheries,         which may be the reason why some reels were
among which the fishing reel in rod-and-line fishing       made of brass in the 18th century. At the end of the
may be the most significant. With the use of a reel       19th century fishing reels were also made of
it became possible to work with a line much longer       Ebonite, a vulcanized rubber, and after the World
than the rod. The ‘stationary line’, i.e. a relatively   War I reels were made of Bakelite, one of the first
short line no longer than the stick and tied to a loop   synthetic materials used in fisheries. Modern fishing
attached to the top of the rod, was now replaced by      reels are made of metal or graphite, some with
a ‘running line’, not tied to the top of the rod but     turning spools like small forms of the old reels used
passing through a top ring to the butt and wound         for lines (‘free-spool’ reels); others with non-
around the reel. A running line may be some hun-         rotating fixed spools (‘fixed-spool’ reels). With the
    140                                    Fish Catching Methods of the World

a                                                                                                                             c



    Figure 10.5 Different types of modern reels: (a) fixed-spool reel; (b) multiplying reel; (c) fly-casting reel; (d) multi-
    pliers for big game fishing.

    original reel, the turning of the handle gave the            its axis parallel to the rod. The spool remains sta-
    same number of turns to the spool. This type of              tionary while the pick-up arm, or bale arm, rotates
    centre pin reel is also sometimes used today. Often          about it to guide the line when running out over the
    this old-fashioned reel has been replaced by ‘mul-           head of the fixed spool, or to gather the line in when
    tiplying reels’ or ‘multipliers’, which, with the help       the bale arm turns in the other direction. The fixed
    of gearing, turn the reel up to four times faster than       spool does not turn but moves forwards and back-
    the handle. Multipliers are very widely used in sea          wards to ensure that the line is wound in evenly.The
    fishing.                                                      fixed spool reel can be made in an open form or in
       In troll line fishing (see Chapter 9.6) some               a closed one. A closed face reel has the spool with
    monster reels are used weighing several kilograms            the pick-up mechanism in a domed container with
    and holding more than 1000 m of line with a break-           a hole in the centre of the dome for the line to run
    ing strength of > 300 N. Even motorized or electro-          out or be wound in. From these basic types of reels
    powered reels made of brass or stainless steel have          there are many variations with different names,
    been developed for sea fishing. They are designed             all of which can have advantages and disadvan-
    to handle heavy fish, from depths of 1000 m or                tages, according to the skill and experience of the
    more. With fixed-spool reels the drum or spool has            user.
                                      Fishing for Sport and Recreation                                      141

                                                         float fishing, and sometimes ledgering (see Section
                                                         10.3), regular ground baiting is considered neces-
                                                         sary to encourage fish to the required place. Suit-
                                                         able bait will be spread by hand, and can also be
                                                         shot further away with a catapult (Trench 1974).
                                                         When the wind is in the right direction the bait can
                                                         be carried out with the help of a small raft fitted
                                                         with a sail (Ward 1980). A connecting line is fixed
                                                         to the top of the mast of this little craft to tip over
                                                         the raft at the desired place and so release the bait.
                                                         Such craft have already been mentioned for
                                                         longlining (Chapter 9, Figures 9.23–9.25). In sea
                                                         fisheries float tackle is used because this method
                                                         allows bait to be presented at the depth considered
                                                         best. As mentioned before, the float regulates not
Figure 10.6 Types of float fishing: (a) adjustable float;   only the depth of the hook but works also as a bite
(b) float ledger.                                         indicator. Floats used in sea fishing are much more
                                                         rough in shape and larger, made of wood, cork or
                                                         plastic. Shark anglers even use balloons to present
10.2 Float fishing                                        big baits. Different waters and different fish call for
Float fishing is the simplest form of sport fishing in     different floats, and this may be the reason why
still or very slow moving waters. For tackle, in addi-   some anglers collect floats as a hobby.
tion to line and hook, sometimes only some small
shots for weight and a float are needed (Figure
10.6a). A rod, however, is not wholly necessary for
                                                         10.3 Ground fishing and ledgering
this method. The distance of the hook from the float      For ground fishing in fast-running waters, almost
is regulated in such a way that it is either fishing      the same tackle can be used as for float fishing
near the surface, in mid-water, or lower still, only a   (Figure 10.6b). The depth can be regulated with the
little off the bottom. The function of the float is to    float. A heavy lead ledger sliding freely up and
support the tackle in the water, and also to enable      down is attached to ensure that the cast with the
the angler to keep his bait clear, and to reveal by      hook rests on the bottom to catch bottom feeders.
its movement when a fish bites.                           The faster the current, the larger the lead will need
   Cork has been used for making egg-shaped floats        to be. A fishing rod can be used to place the hook
as has any light wood, particularly balsa wood. Gen-     in the right position and to land the fish after strik-
erally the smaller and slimmer the float, the more        ing, possibly with the help of a reel for winding in
sensitive it is. Below water the float should be as       the line. The rods for ground fishing vary in thick-
dark and inconspicuous as possible, while above          ness and consist of two or three parts; they may
water the tip must be bright for maximum visibility.     even need to be operated with two hands accord-
Sensitive floats in a slim form are also made from        ing to the design. They are of varying length.
the shafts of birds’ feathers such as those from swan,      They can be 4 m or more long but they are also
pelican, goose, turkey and crow. Quills from porcu-      made shorter and heavier for fishing in the sea from
pines have also been very popular. Plastic floats         a boat. A well-known tackle for ground fishing is
have been made, and fluorescent antennae floats are        the paternoster line (Figure 9.1g) with a heavy lead
available for fishing at dusk. Special floats are con-     with side arms like an anchor. Paternostering is
structed for fishing during the night; their light can    generally found to be successful in places where
be seen by the angler at distances of up to 100 m.       there is a good depth and a strong current.
   Another special type are the bubble floats –              Another form of ground fishing is ledgering. This
transparent balls filled with water to give the nec-      is simply fishing without float. The line with the
essary weight for casting, but they are nearly invis-    baited hook is held by a free running weight (Figure
ible in the water and therefore difficult to see. For     10.8a). Many forms of ledger leads are known:
142                                       Fish Catching Methods of the World

Figure 10.7 The horizontal position
of the rod is often used in combination
with electronic bite indicators.

round, pyramid-shaped and others, with a hole or
loop through which the line passes. A piece of shot
is fixed on the line to act as a stop. The free part of
the line is allowed to move attractively in the
current. The only problem is how to sense a bite,
because the system cannot be very sensitive. A bite
is difficult to feel with the finger on the line when
it is moving in the current, or to distinguish by the
movement of the rod tip which may be moved by
the wind. Sometimes, when the rod is placed on a
rod rest (Figure 10.7), some glittering material hung
on the line can act as bite indicator by revealing
unusual irregular movements. An alarm bell can be
fixed on the line (Figure 9.16), or the reel may be
fitted with a clicker to give an audible warning.
Nowadays, specially made battery-operated electric
detectors are available, indicating not only the
running of the line but also slack line bites, when
the fish swims against the line. Some detectors can
be connected to more than one rod and give dif-
ferent forms of alarm.
   British match anglers developed a very success-
ful version of ledgering. Instead of lead, a wire
basket or a perforated plastic cylinder is attached          Figure 10.8 Different ledgering-rigs: (a) running ledger,
                                                             (b) fixed paternoster rig, (c) ‘hair’-rig for carps, and (d)
to the line (Figure 10.8d). These ‘swim-feeders’ are         swim-feeder.
packed with heavy ground-bait which is released
slowly by the currents. Thus the fish are lured to the
hook-bait. The fine tips, made of solid fibreglass, of         seizes in the mouth. This principle also functions if a
specially designed feeder-rods (Kluwe-Yorck 1997)            carp tries to spit the bait out of the mouth.
act as very sensitive bite-indicators. Even the slight-         A special form of ledgering in salt water is shore
est touch to the hook-bait or line can be detected           fishing, which resembles ledgering in fresh water.
this way.                                                    Natural baits are used, such as lugworms, ragworms,
   Another very effective ledgering technique was            crabs, shrimps, prawns, shellfish or fish baits. To
developed by British carp anglers during the late            reach the fish in deeper water behind the breaking
1970s. The bait is connected by a thin, braided line         waves, these baits must be cast as far as possible.
to the bend or eye of the hook (Figure 10.8c). If the        Furthermore, it is absolutely necessary that the bait
carp takes the bait at this hair-rig, it automatically       is not carried away by the strong currents. So the
sucks the hook into the mouth. As soon as the fish            leads are substantially heavier than the leads used
continues to swim, it feels the sharp point and shows        in fresh water (Figure 10.9). Therefore anglers use
a flight reaction (Little 1991). Trying to escape, the        special, up to 4.9 m long beach-casting rods. They
carp hooks itself, because the free hook thereby             are stronger and have less but bigger rings than the
                                      Fishing for Sport and Recreation                                     143

                                                        rods for ledgering in fresh water. This construction
                                                        reduces the friction of the line during the cast and
                                                        very experienced anglers achieve distances up to
                                                        200 m (Mackellow 1998). Fixed-spool reels are used
                                                        as well as multiplying reels for special styles of
                                                        beach casting. The rod is placed in a raised position
                                                        right on the waterfront and the bite of a fish is indi-
                                                        cated at the tip (Figure 10.10).
                                                           The prey of surf anglers consists of mainly cod,
                                                        whiting, flounders, turbot, eels, pollock, coalfish,
                                                        seabass, seabreams and rays, but in Namibia for
                                                        example, anglers fish from the beach for really big
                                                        sharks up to 180 kg (Bressler 1999).

                                                        10.4 Spin fishing and jigging
                                                        The spinning method of fishing is appreciated by
                                                        many anglers. For spinning, a line with lead, hook,
                                                        and bait or lure is cast using a rod and wound in
                                                        again over a reel (Figure 10.11). Strictly speaking,
                                                        spin fishing is something like trolling from a fixed
                                                        place, and is usually used to catch predatory fish. Of
                                                        the different types of rod available, ones made from
                                                        carbon fibre are preferred, as are fixed spools and
                                                           Different types of artificial lures with incoherent
                                                        names are used for spin fishing (Aldinger 1974). In
                                                        principle, there is not much difference between the
                                                        tackle used for spinning by sport fishermen and
                                                        commercial fishermen (Chapter 9). In each case an
                                                        object designed to make some movement, often
                                                        spinning, when drawn through the water and which
                                                        is armed with hooks, is used (Vare & Hardy 1980).
                                                        The oldest type of artificial lure used in spin fishing
                                                        and trolling is probably the so-called spoon, made
                                                        of polished metal and already known in prehistoric
                                                        times (Figures 9.34 and 9.35). Originally this lure
                                                        had the form of a spoon, as used for eating (Figure
                                                        10.12a). When towed, the spoon moves up and
                                                        down and also spins, being fitted with a swivel
                                                        before each lure. Modern spoons used by sport fish-
                                                        ermen are generally smaller and can be curved.
                                                        Such spoons have no axis, but there are others with
                                                        a middle part around which the spoon spins and
Figure 10.9 Fixed paternoster rig with two hooks. The   these are, therefore, called ‘versatile blade spinners’
heavy grip lead is constructed for strong currents.     (Figure 10.12b, d).
                                                           More complicated are lures that have not only an
                                                        axis, but also something like a propeller which
                                                        causes a quick turning of the whole lure. These are
                                                        typical spinners known as Devon minnows or
                                                        turbine spinners.
144                                        Fish Catching Methods of the World

Figure 10.10 Shore fishing: the
raised position of the rod keeps the
line over the surface for better bite-

Figure 10.11 Spin fishing: raising
and lowering the rod while winding in
the line gives the artificial lure lively

   Quite another group of artificial lures are the             curious predatory fish because such predators often
non-spinning ‘plugs’, first used in America. They are          follow lures without taking them. If a fish is
made of wood or hollow plastic or hard foamed                 detected in this way, the angler tries to catch it with
plastic in one (Figure 10.12c), two and even three            another type of spinning-lure, for example with a
sections. They are fitted with one, two or three triple        plug or spoon.
hooks and are painted with striking colours. These               Likewise, the so-called soft baits come from the
plugs, or ‘wobblers’, attract the fish by wobbling,            United States of America. They were developed in
wriggling or undulating when towed through the                the 1950s and are moulded from synthetic materi-
water. Most of them have at the forepart a small              als such as polyvinyl chloride. In contrast to hard-
shearing board, which is one of the elements of               bodied lures, soft baits have different advantages.
fishing gear (Chapter 8). The lure is pressed down-            On the one hand very true imitations of the natural
wards by this board or the whole lure has a banana-           prey can be manufactured, e.g. worms, crayfish,
like form so that its whole body is shearing when             crabs, frogs, fishes and so on. On the other hand the
the line is retrieved. There are some types made              predator fish keeps it longer in the mouth after
specially for diving in shallow waters; others which          biting owing to the soft consistency. The spin-angler
dive deeply; and others which float on the surface             thus has more time to set the hook. The very light
and are fitted with a vane which causes them to                soft baits are installed onto special jig-hooks, which
splash along the surface of the water.                        are equipped with lead on the bent (Figure 10.12e,
   American bass anglers created the spinnerbaits             f). Thus they can be thrown very far with the spin-
(Figure 10.12g). These lures are designed to solve            ning tackle and fished at nearly all depths.
problems with weed in shallow waters. The bent,                  Also well known in spin fishing are ‘dead bait’
formed as an open triangle, prevents waterplants or           tackles (Figure 10.12h), which operate by spinning
bushes from touching the hook or blade. Some                  a dead natural fish. Although in spin fishing the arti-
angler also use spinnerbaits to locate aggressive or          ficial lures are made attractive by striking colours,
                                           Fishing for Sport and Recreation                                       145

Figure 10.12 Lures for spin fishing: (a) spoon; (b)
spinner; (c) plug; (d) minnow-spoon; (e) curly tails
(twister); (f) shad; (g) spinnerbait; (h) dead-bait spinning

the movements of the lure and its vibrations are
considered the essential factors in attracting the fish
to take the hook.
   Another artificial lure consists of several hooks
surrounded with strikingly coloured feathers. These
are used in ‘feathering’ – which is considered very
effective because ‘a string of six or seven feathers
imitates a school of bait fish’ (Holden 1973). Hooks
with feathers can be so effective that some people
consider spinning with feathers in the sea no more
as sport but, at the most, as a ‘bait collection tech-
nique’. The feathers can be replaced by natural
hairs or strips of plastic, particularly using split
fibres (Figure 9.33).
   Frequently these baits are also used in combina-
tion with heavy metal lures, known as ‘pirks’
(Figure 10.13). This method, called ‘jigging’, is a
special variation of spinning at sea and is practised
from a drifting boat. While the spinfisher’s lure
usually moves nearly horizontally through the
water, pirks have to be presented more or less ver-            Figure 10.13 The pirk with ‘extra-bait’ is very popular
tically (Willock 1994). Depending on the depth and             for catching cod in the Baltic Sea.
146                                   Fish Catching Methods of the World

                                                           ments of hook, line, reel and rod, made especially
                                                           in the last century (Trench 1974).
                                                              The earliest information on the use of artificial
                                                           flies is to be found in Claudius Aelianus’ work De
                                                           Natura Animalium. It was written in the third
                                                           century AD, and he there describes the use of arti-
                                                           ficial flies in Macedonia (Gudger 1947). Aelianus
                                                           reports that, in the Macedonian river Astaeus, in
                                                           Thessaly, some fish were known to prefer a special
                                                           type of insect named ‘hippuri’, flying near the water
                                                           surface. The inhabitants tried to use these flies as
                                                           bait, but these insects are so soft and fragile that
                                                           they are destroyed when touched by hand. There-
                                                           fore, artificial ones were made of wool, dyed with
                                                           red wine and completed by small feathers from the
                                                           head of a cock. This may be the first report about
                                                           fly fishing, but it was used not for recreation but to
                                                           get food. Indeed, it seems that this fishing technique
                                                           had never been described before, not even by
                                                           Oppian living in the second century AD, who gave
                                                           a very comprehensive report entitled Halieutica
                                                           about fishing as seen by him or reported by differ-
                                                           ent Greek and Roman writers. Strangely, this
                                                           method was not mentioned again until the end of
                                                           the 15th century in the second edition of the famous
                                                           English Boke of St Albans (1496) which has a
                                                           special chapter – ‘Treatise of fishing with an angle’.
                                                           It has been said that this book was written by an
                                                           English prioress, Dame Juliana Barnes. Of course,
                                                           it is a little strange that a prioress should have so
Figure 10.14 Jigging technique from a drifting boat: the   much fishing experience. Some people think that a
bait have to be presented near the bottom.
                                                           woman at the head of a religious establishment
                                                           could not have been the author of such a book
                                                           (Trench 1974), and consider that it is based on a
                                                           French manuscript of the first quarter of the 15th
currents, pirks can weigh anything between 50 and          century. Nevertheless, in the Boke of St Albans not
1000 g. The bait must always be held directly above        only are rods, lines, floats, leads and hooks men-
the sea bottom. Because of this, the angler contin-        tioned, but so too are 12 artificial flies. Unfortu-
ually raises and lowers the rod tip (Figure 10.14),        nately, no drawing is given. The first black and white
and thus cod, pollock, coalfish, whiting, haddock,          drawing of a fly was not published in England until
ling and other species are caught.                         1620 and the first coloured one not until 1800. In
                                                           the 16th century and later, artificial flies were very
                                                           often mentioned. The famous European man of
10.5 Fly fishing                                            science, Konrad Gessner, describes artificial flies in
The most artistic form of sport fishing is beyond           his Historiae Animalium, printed in Zurich in
doubt that of fly fishing. In this, the line is cast with    1551–1558. There are descriptions and illustrations
an almost weightless bait in the form of an artificial      of artificial flies even in old Japanese handwritten
fly, made of carefully tied feathers. Fly fishing as it      manuscripts. The descriptions of Dame Juliana
is known today may be the method of fishing for             Barnes were repeated by Izaak Walton in his book
sport and recreation created by the many improve-          The Compleat Angler (1653), of which new editions
                                           Fishing for Sport and Recreation                                       147

Figure 10.15 The two principles of fishing with flies: (a)
dry flies are presented on the surface; (b) wet flies or
attractor flies in the water.
                                                               Figure 10.17 Simple sport trolling: the lures are drawn
                                                               manually at different depths by craft.

                                                               requires tuition and long and patient exercise, and
                                                               is the object of special competitions among sport
                                                               fishermen, who today practise the art of casting and
                                                               exercise their skill in almost every country of the
                                                               world. This may also be one of the reasons why fly
                                                               fishing is considered as the most delightful method
                                                               of all forms of sport fishing.
                                                                  There exists, in addition, a more simple form of
                                                               ‘fly fishing’ with larger artificial baits made of feath-
                                                               ers and hairs. Even though these baits are called
                                                               ‘flies’ in some countries, they actually imitate not
                                                               insects but small fishes. Therefore it may be better
Figure 10.16 A selection of different types of flies. Dry
flies (a–d): (a) mayfly, (b) hackled dry fly, ( c) palmer, (d)
                                                               to use the name ‘streamer’ for catching larger and
winged dry fly; wet flies (e–h): (e) winged wet fly, (f)          heavier fish feeding on smaller ones (Figure 10.16i).
hackled wet fly, (g) beetle, (h) nymph; attractor flies (i–k):   This type of fishing is carried out in waters with
(i) streamer, (j) salmon fly, (k) tube fly.                      strong currents, with rods made for fly fishing as
                                                               well as with rods made for spinning (Eipeltauer
are still printed today. Interestly, some of the flies
mentioned in the Boke of St Albans are used today.
Nevertheless, modern sport fishermen know of a
                                                               10.6 Sport trolling and big game fishing
tremendous number of different flies. They are                  Trolling in a very wide sense can be a form of sport
‘dry’, which means swimming like water ticks on the            fishing with the same fishing tackle as described
surface, or they are ‘wet’, which means they are               previously (Chapter 9.6) for commercial fisheries.
fishing under the surface of the water (Figure                  When used from a boat, short and strong rods are
10.15).                                                        needed with very long lines and spinning devices, as
   There are many famous types distinguishable                 described for spin fishing (Figure 10.17).When reels
according to the colour and material they are made             are used they have to be extra large. Otter boards
from (Figure 10.16). A rod especially designed for             have been mentioned before as being used with
casting artificial flies is needed, and its right selec-         commercial troll lines, but originally these shearing
tion, not only according to length and weight, will            devices were used for sport fishing in the flowing
influence success.                                              water of rivers. They were put in the water to tow a
   Nowadays, the rods of fly fishermen are espe-                 line with branch lines and hooks across the water
cially light (ultra-light hollow fibreglass or carbon           being fished. Later on, more highly developed otter
rods); the fishing line tapers towards either end and           boards were also used from sports vessels to tow
is especially prepared to allow it to run out easily           lines for trolling over wide areas (Figure 8.30).
from the reel. The technique of successful casting in          Sports fishermen do not only use lateral shearing
fly fishing must be learned by steady practice; it               boards, but also devices for shearing downward.
148                                        Fish Catching Methods of the World

Figure 10.18 Sport trolling with a
downrigger (a). The fishing line is
attached by a clip to the heavy lead

Figure 10.19 Fishing for sharks
from a drifting boat: the net filled with
rubby dubby forms a scent trail in the

Figure 8.33(b,c) illustrates shearing equipment used          rigger weight at the steel cable brings the lure to
in deep water for sport fishing.                               the desired depth, where it can be constantly trolled
   With the invention of the downrigger, modern               (Eilts 1992). It is possible at any time to vary the
sport trolling was revolutionized. With this aid it is        fishing depth by raising or discharging the weight.
possible to fish with very light tackle and the light-         The fishing rod is put into a tubular rod-stand and
est lures. There are also practically no limitations          brought into tension (Figure 10.18a). If a fish bites,
regarding the fishing depth. In Europe, this kind of           the bracket releases the line from the steel cable
trolling has been particularly developed by Swedish           and it can be played without taking up weights
sport fishermen. Fishing for Atlantic salmon in the            between rod and hook. Trolling with hook and line
Baltic Sea was opened up by using echo-sounders,              is also the method generally practised in big game
and North American anglers, for example, use them             fishing in tropical seas for shark, tuna, swordfish,
to fish for lake trout, salmon, trout and musky in             marlin, sailfish, wahoo and others. This type of
the Great Lakes.                                              fishing was not successful before the development
   The downrigger consists of a short arm with a              and improvement of suitable gear, i.e. strong lines,
final roller-ring and a hoist with steel cable. The            rods and reels, operated by a person sitting with the
steel cable runs through the final ring and carries a          rod in a rest in a ‘fighting chair’ and secured against
weight of between 0.5 and 5 kg. A bracket is fixed             being thrown overboard by the sudden jerk of a
at the weight or at the steel cable, into which the           powerful game fish. Such fish, when hooked, may
fishing line is wedged (Figure 10.18b). The down-              tow a boat for hours. Sometimes more lures,
                                       Fishing for Sport and Recreation                                         149

without hooks, are used to attract the prey to the        is practised in California and South Africa today,
catching hook which has a fish as bait.                    and kites made of plastic sheets are sold in sports
   Another way to attract the game fish, especially        fishing tackle shops.
sharks, is the use of ‘rubby dubby’ (Williams 1997).
This is a mixture of crushed fishes with a high fat        References
content, like mackerel or herring, fish oil and bran.      Aldinger, H. (1974) Der erfolgreiche Spinn-, Schlepp-, und
Rubby dubby can be put directly in the water with           Zockangler. Stuttgart.
a spoon or hung in the water in a fine-meshed net.         Bressler, F. (1999) Hai-Alarm. Die Raubfischerei 3, 78–79.
If the wind direction and the direction of the water      Doogue, R. (1974) Hook, Line and Sinker. Wellington.
                                                          von Ehrenkreuz. (1852) Das Ganze der Angelfischerei
current are identical, the boat drifts over the water       und ihre Geheimnisse. Quedlinburg/Leipzig.
and a narrow, long scent trail is built (Figure 10.19).   Eilts, J. (1992) Gewusst wie. Fisch & Fang 2, 37.
If not, the boat must be held on course by engine         Eipeltauer, N. (1980) Streamerfischen. Hamburg.
force according to the water drift. Sharks may            Gudger, E W. (1947) The origin of fly-fishing. Salmon and
                                                            Trout 121, 237–240.
follow the trail over many kilometres to the hook
                                                          Harvey, W H. (1857) The Sea-side Book. London.
bait. Mostly, dead fish such bonito, small tuna or         Holden, J. (1973) Shorefishing. London.
mackerel are used on a single hook.                       Klunzinger, C.B. (1892) Bodenseefische, deren Pflege und
   Sometimes, as when fishing for shy sailfish, the           Fang. Stuttgart.
bait has to be towed through the water far away           Kluwe-Yorck, V. (1997) Vom Matchruten und
                                                            Winkelpickern. Fisch & Fang 8, 60–63.
from the boat to avoid scaring the fish. The bait          Leroi-Gourhan, A. (1945) Milieu et techniques. Science
should also be towed near the surface and, there-           d’ aujourdhui. Paris.
fore, a balloon or kite can be attached to the line by    Little, A. (1991) Grosse Karpfen Angeln. Hamburg,
a cotton thread. When the bait is taken, this cotton        Berlin.
line breaks and the balloon or kite drifts away           Loebell, R. (1966) So fängt man Aale. Hamburg.
                                                          de Luna, J.C. (1948) Peces de los Litorales Ibérico y Mor-
(Trench 1974). Sport fishermen sometimes attempt             roqui y su Pesca. Madrid.
to use the kite in trolling even today. The English       Mackellow, N. (1998) Das Duell der Rollen. Fisch & Fang
traveller, Sir Henry Middleton, is said to have been        6, 34–38.
the first European to see kite fishing in the South         Matuzaki, M. (1940) Angling in Japan. Tourist Library: 32.
Seas during his visit there from 1604 to 1606, and he       Tokyo.
                                                          Royce, W.F. (1972) Introduction to the Fishery Sciences.
introduced the kite in sports fishing in 1616. For this      New York/London.
purpose, kites flying astern of a moving boat were         Shrestha, T.K. (1979) Technique of fishing in Nepal. I:
used, especially for fishing tuna and other big game         Innovation and development of loop line snaring.
fish. The flying fish bait was securely tied to the            Journal of the Natural History Museum 3 (4), 121–
hook. The fishing line led from the rod to the kite          138.
                                                          Svendsen, L. (1949) Tun, Fiskeri og Tunfisk. Copenhagen.
and then back to the water (Figure 8.35) (de Luna         Trench, C.C. (1974) A History of Angling. London.
1948). Thus the hook skipped realistically over the       Turner, C.H. & Sexsmith, J.C. (1964) Marine Baits of Cal-
top of the waves.When a fish struck the bait, the line       ifornia.
broke away from the kite and the fisherman was             Vare, A. & Hardy, A.E. (1980) The Sea Angler’s First
                                                            Handbook. London.
free to play the catch, just as is done in some parts
                                                          Walton, I. (1950) The Compleat Angler. London (original
of Oceania (Turner & Sexsmith 1964). In the                 publication 1653).
Öresund, during the Danish tuna fishing competi-           Ward, B. (1980) Freshwater Fishing. London.
tion of 1947, an effort was made to fish with box          Warlen, S.M. (1975) Night stalking flounder in the ocean
kites (Svendsen 1949). However, in other areas of           surf. Marine Fisheries Review 37 (9), 27–30.
                                                          Williams P. (1997) Der Duft, der Meeresfische provoziert.
the world, such efforts up to the present to introduce      Fisch & Fang 8, 28–31.
this old Oceanic method of troll line fishing have not     Willock, C. (1994) Das Große ABC des Fischens.
been successful. Nevertheless, kite fishing for sport        Hamburg.
                      Attracting, Concentrating
                        and Frightening Fish

Sometimes in fishing technology a distinction is                  fishing literature they talk of this as ‘bait food’, but
made between ‘active’ and ‘passive’ fishing gear. As              the enticing element needs not necessarily be an
explained in Chapter 1, the meanings of the terms                edible bait or even dummy food bait. Other senses
are, that in the first case the gear actively follows the         of the fish may be exploited to lure them into a
fish to be caught (the gear comes to the fish), and in             fishing gear or to a certain place. Besides food, the
the other the gear remains passive, waiting for the              fish may have a desire for hiding, for mating, or
active fish to come voluntarily to, or into, the gear.            simply for finding other specimens of its kind, as in
Very often an active gear is defined as a towed one,              the case of shoaling fish. All of these desires can be
in contrast to the passive gear which is stationary.             used, singly or together, to attract or concentrate
This definition should be avoided because not all                 fish or other aquatic animals near to or into a
active gear is towed, while some passive gear like               fishing gear. The term ‘bait’ is thus by no means
troll lines,drift lines,driftnets and even handlines are         restricted to food bait like the lob-worm of the
moved during fishing. For successful catching with                angler, but has a far more comprehensive meaning.
any type of passive gear it must be made as accept-              The problem is to find the right stimuli influencing
able as possible to the prey. To find the most attrac-            the behaviour of a fish or another prey, in a posi-
tive bait, to construct the gear in the most suitable            tive or negative manner, as needed for any fishing
manner, and to operate that gear in the most effec-              method, especially with passive fishing gear.
tive way, needs knowledge of fish behaviour. It may                  Stimuli attracting fish can be of optical, chemical,
have required many centuries for human beings to                 acoustical or tactile nature (Mohr 1960). There are
learn how to catch fish in any other way than by                  stimuli having either a positive or a negative effect
picking them up and killing them by hand. There                  according to their ability to either lure the fish or
may be no objection to saying that most active                   to frighten it away. The positive and negative reac-
fishing gears are older than passive ones, and that it            tions of a fish to a certain stimulus can change in
needs a lot of knowledge to lure a fish to accept a               the course of that fish’s life, and according to its
passive gear.This does not mean that, for active gear,           physiological condition. Young fish, for instance,
knowledge of fish behaviour is not necessary too.                 can be attracted by light from which older speci-
But it is only now that this knowledge has become                mens of the same species would take evading
one of the main ingredients for improving gear con-              action. They may at first react positively to the
struction and devising fishing tactics to be used with            photo-tactile stimulus, but negatively at a later
the active fishing gear. Many fishing methods are                  stage. Many species behave very differently accord-
based on attracting prey or concentrating them in an             ing to whether they are spawning or not. This
economic quantity. There are also some conditions                explains how it is that long experience is required
when it may be desirable to frighten fish into a posi-            by practical fishermen for finding out the most
tion where they can be caught.                                   effective bait to be used for certain fisheries, as well
   For attracting and concentrating fish, bait is                 as for discovering the most suitable fishing gear.
frequently offered with the gear. In old and new                 Passive gear in particular can be successful only if

                                Attracting, Concentrating and Frightening Fish                               151

it is adapted, as far as possible, to the specific behav-   course, is that the aquatic animal sought to be
iour of the animal sought (Brock 1950). Very often         caught is mainly reacting by its optical sense,
the problem is that it is not one single stimulus that     through either lying in wait for the prey or chasing
is decisive for the reaction of the fish but a combi-       it. Therefore, optical lures are especially used to
nation of different ones. This should not be forgot-       catch predatory fish. As already mentioned, one
ten when reading the following discussion on the           stimulus may not be enough. The predator has not
main types of stimuli.                                     only to see its presumed prey, its colour and its
                                                           movement. The effectiveness of a lure may depend
                                                           much more on its vibrations, which are transmitted
11.1 Optical lures                                         to the predator’s lateral-line sensory organs.
Optical lures may be the first bait originated from
the fact that a fish can be attracted by offering food.
Being mostly interested in big game, prehistoric
                                                           11.2 Light fishing
man may have offered small fodder fish to lure              Light fishing is a form of optical bait used to attract
bigger ones. Also in prehistoric times, man found          and to concentrate fish. Since very olden times this
out that imitation fish could be used as artificial          method is known to have been effective in fresh
bait. Some hints were given earlier in this book           water as well as in the seas, for catching single fish
(Chapter 6.1, Spearing with pushed gear). Such imi-        as well as shoaling species. Light is used in shallow
tations were originally lifelike, but man then dis-        water by wading fishermen, or by divers hunting in
covered that not only some special design but              their silent world, or on the sea far away from the
sometimes also a stronger optical stimulus was             coast and down to depths of hundreds of metres.
desirable. This applies not only to fish-imitating          There are, indeed, few fishing areas wherein light is
lures but also to the many artificial insects used for      not sometimes used for attracting or concentrating
bait, especially in sport fishing. Sometimes their          fish, and there is no type of fishing gear which will
appearance is very different from their ‘originals’,       not be used always or sometimes with light to
but optically they are much more attractive. (See          attract the fish or to lure them nearer to the surface
Chapter 10.)                                               (Schärfe 1953; Ben-Yami 1974). The most impor-
   In commercial fisheries, natural living and dead         tant fishing methods using light to attract, concen-
fish or other animals are the most popular bait. But        trate and keep the fish in one place till they are
imitation lures are also used. Formerly artificial          caught, may be those used for pelagic fish with sur-
lures could be wooden imitations of bait fish, care-        rounding nets like purse seines and lampara nets
fully painted to attract the fish according to its          (Chapter 29, Figure 29.4); with stationary liftnets
optical stimulus and whether it is to be considered        (Chapter 23) as used in India (Figure 23.11), or the
as prey (Figure 18.3) or as competitor. Man may            movable liftnets like the ‘basnig’ nets of the Philip-
have found out that it was not only the appearance         pines (Figure 23.35) and the Japanese stick-held dip
in colour that was important for the lure to be opti-      nets (Figure 23.36). They are also used in line
cally attractive, but that the movement of a lure          fishing, especially in jigging for squid (Chapter 12,
may be much more likely to cause a fish to snap a           Figure 12.34), and in pole-and-line fishing for mack-
supposed prey.Very early it was found also, that any       erel in Japan (Chapter 9). Finally, harvesting fish
blinking and irregularly moving device could be            and other prey with fish pumps may be combined
used to attract fish. The so-called spoons for trolling     with electrical stunning in a newer form of using
have already been mentioned as a very old type of          light for attracting and concentrating the fish
artificial lure (Figure 9.35). Any optically striking       (Chapter 30, Figure 30.4). It can only be repeated
object, possibly one that is bright or which sparkles      that there is hardly a fishing method where light is
irregularly, is often sufficient for that purpose. Fre-     not used somewhere in the world to attract and
quently a mobile glittering fishing hook, without           concentrate the fish, to keep them at one place, or
any addition whatsoever, may be sufficient. It is           to guide them into a fishing gear.
supposed that the irregular movements given to                As can be seen from this short review of fishing
such a hook convey the impression that a sickly            methods operated with artificial light, it is used by
prey may easily be taken. The supposition here, of         small-scale artisan fisheries as well as large
152                                   Fish Catching Methods of the World

industrial ones.The source of light has changed with           A special development in light fishing is the
the centuries. Torches and fire baskets were used            underwater lamp as used in connection with pump
originally, and torches are sometimes also used             fishing to attract the fish. It seems that in other
today, but they will eventually be replaced by more         branches of commercial fisheries, underwater lamps
reliable devices which need less handling. Fire             have not become as popular as might have been
baskets attached to wooden boats have been espe-            expected from their advantage of providing a better
cially dangerous as burning material could fall into        light source without loss from reflection of the light
the vessel. Therefore a bucket with water should be         from the water surface. Artificial light, especially
always at hand (Ligers 1953). More developed than
the hand torch is the famous Hawaiian ‘knapsack’
type of gasoline torch which allows the hands to be
kept free for fishing (Hosaka 1973). Nowadays,
transportable or stationary lamps are used, which
are operated with fuel oil, acetylene gas, kerosene,
generated electricity, or even with batteries. In
sardine fishing, special lamp boats are used (Figure
11.1) as they were also sometimes by the Norwe-
gians in herring fishing. To spare manpower,
unmanned rafts with lights have been developed by
scientists (Wickham & Seidel 1973), and simpler
forms also by fishermen. The Greek purse seiners
in the Mediterranean have largely replaced their
large numbers of manned light boats (Figure 11.2)           Figure 11.1 Spanish boats of Benidorm equipped with
by unmanned ones (Figure 11.3).                             powerful lights for attracting sardine. (Photo: J. Schärfe.)

Figure 11.2 Greek purse seiner with attendant light-boats preparing to depart from the fishing port of Mytilini on the
Island of Lesbos. The smaller unpowered net-boat can be seen on the starboard side of the vessel (1968).
                                Attracting, Concentrating and Frightening Fish                                153

Figure 11.3 Unmanned rafts with lamps for attracting
sardines, used in the Greek fishery of Mythimna on the
Island of Lesbos (1973).

                                                           Figure 11.4 Japanese receptacle for live fishing bait.
from underwater lamps, brings fish into abnormal
conditions which these animals do not know by
nature. It is not quite clear just how light does affect
fish. Investigations, however, have revealed that the
                                                           11.3 Chemical lures
luring effect of light is partly based on a disorienta-    Another bait group affects the chemical senses, i.e.
tion of the vision of the fish (Verheijen 1958). Nev-       smell and taste. Like the eye, these senses are used
ertheless, this is not considered sufficient to explain     in searching for food. The fishing gear, therefore,
the reaction of fish to artificial light. Mostly a posi-     may be provided with a suitable bait to attract a
tive phototaxis is considered of particular signifi-        particular species of fish by its odour. Sometimes
cance. In spite of these explanations there may be         the fisherman himself seeks to have this smell by
unexpected reactions of the fish to light, which are        rubbing his hands with some strong-smelling mate-
as difficult to explain as are the reactions of fish in      rial which is also used for his traps, scoop nets and
an electrical current (Chapter 5). Nevertheless,           other gear. (On the other hand gear should not be
some basic ‘rules’ for fish behaviour to light are          touched with hands smelling of dark rye bread!)
known. Successful use of light for attracting and          Small or cut-up baits are usually used to increase
concentrating fish requires the night to be dark,           their odorous effect. The bait is fixed on a hook, put
without any other disturbing sources of light such as      in a trap, or even on sheets of netting. Sometimes
the moon or other lamps in the vicinity, and trans-        special little bags or other receptacles are used to
parent water so that the light can extend far without      keep the bait in or near the fishing gear (Figures
disturbing shades or shadows. But it is not only eco-      11.4 and 23.1).
logical facts and weather conditions, or the quality          Mostly special fish food is used as bait, and this
or intensity of the light, which influence the success      may be changed with the season, to attract fishes or
of light fishing; the physiological condition of the        other prey. Sometimes a smelly bait is used which
fish is also important, and even different fish densi-       is not normally found by the fish. Certain sub-
ties can be decisive in whether light fishery is            stances possessing strong odours have always been
successful or not. Thus, although a stronger light         considered attractive, such as anise, musk, castor,
will illuminate a wider area, some fish will try to stay    civet, shrimp oil, heron’s oil, etc. In eastern
in a lower light intensity, and therefore their dis-       Germany, longlines for eels have been traditionally
tance from the light source may become so great            soaked in barrels of water with aniseed oil. These
that they are not within the catching range of the         strong-smelling materials are used even today for
fishing gear.                                               manufacturing ‘unfailing’ chemical bait. Gypsies
154                                  Fish Catching Methods of the World

especially know the secrets of preparing attractive      attracted for catching not only by their sexual part-
baits like ‘muscade de Divio’ or ‘radio-active balls’    ners but also by their sexual competitors is used all
which are mostly resin or stones rubbed with             over the world. In ancient times it was known that
strong-smelling oils. Gypsies are also said to be the    some animals, such as male cuttlefish, could be
inventors of artificial lures first made about 150         attracted by females. Even in recent decades this
years ago. But it is very surprising that until now no   knowledge is used to catch cuttlefish by trolling a
artificial chemical bait has been used in commercial      female of the same species slowly at the stern of a
fisheries. This is a very serious deficiency, because      boat. Male cuttlefish that approach for mating are
the lack of bait very often hampers commercial fish-      speared or taken in dipnets (Voss 1973). Fishermen
eries. When artificial chemical lures are offered for     in East Asia put female cuttlefish into small baskets
this purpose they are based on natural materials. To     in order to attract the males. Mediterranean fisher-
attract shark, a perforated bag of plastic, filled with   men in Sicily knew of the same method (Bombace
chopped up intestines of fish, is moved up and down       1967). The Italians place wicker or wire baskets on
in the water. For catching tuna, artificial bait with     the bottom of the sea, singly or in strings, ‘baited’
fish oil has been used, but it was not as successful      with a female cuttlefish or a branch of mastic
as natural bait fish. Nevertheless, research work has     (Pistacea lenticus). They catch the attracted
attempted to solve this problem of commercial fish-       male cuttlefish with scoop nets. Luring with
eries, especially for line fishing (Hurum 1977). Fish     sexual stimuli is used to catch not only cephalopods,
food can also be used to familiarize fish with a          but also fish. Formerly fishermen on the upper
certain place. This means that the fishes are             part of the River Rhine put female salmon into
‘trained’ to come to a suitable area to look for food.   their traps to attract the male fish. Male salmon
Sport fishermen do this for several days before           are also used for luring other males, which will
fishing. Commercial fishermen, too, know and use           try to fight their supposed competitor and thus
this tactic for concentrating fish. Egyptians fishing      become caught in the prepared trap. A dummy
with lines for sea bream also practised feeding them     fish achieves the same effect (Figure 18.3). A
beforehand. And the French sardine fishermen of           similar method was used when fishing for salmon
the Atlantic coast lure the fish up from the deep         with a stationary liftnet. A female salmon was put
into the range of their nets with a mixture of cod       into the water but tied to a line. When a male was
roe and groundnut meal (von Brandt 1960). By this        attracted, the female was drawn slowly near to the
means the fish not only rise to the upper water           bank of the river over a net. The male salmon fol-
layers, but come near to the surface where the fish-      lowed and was caught by quickly lifting the net
ermen can catch them.                                    (Kuhn 1976).
   There are other fishing methods in which food-            In the examples given, chemical and optical
stuff is spread to attract and keep the fish in the       stimuli are here acting simultaneously. This also
range of a gear. An original method is for the fish-      applies to a Japanese method for catching ayus. A
erman himself to chew the bait and spit it into the      living fish of this species is tied to fishing lines
water. Fishermen of the Cape Verde Islands knew          beside an unbaited hook; then species of the same
of this method and chew small bait fish to catch          type attack the supposed intruder and thus become
Decapterus and Sardinella with handlines and             hooked themselves. Nigerian fishermen use baskets
scoop nets (Figure 9.7) (von Brandt & Steinberg          with female catfish to attract the males with their
1964). The fishermen of Hawaii also do this by            smell in shallow waters. Fishermen in northern
chewing dried shrimp to catch different fish with         Germany put a living turbot into a trap to attract
pole-and-line (Hosaka 1973).                             many other fish of the same species to enter the
                                                         same trap. Characteristically, this method is partic-
                                                         ularly successful during the spawning season
11.4 Sexual lures                                        (Menzebach 1958). There may be more examples of
The chemical senses are not only used in search of       fishermen all over the world using this method to
food; together with other stimuli they may also help     attract fish or to frighten away their possible com-
in finding sexual partners. It seems that the knowl-      petitors or to encourage them to join others for
edge that fishes and other water animals can be           social reasons, even inside a trap.
                                Attracting, Concentrating and Frightening Fish                                155

11.5 Acoustic bait
Acoustic baits are less frequently used than optical
and chemical ones. Moreover, it is often not clear
whether the audible sound really has a luring effect
or whether the vibrations received by the tactile
sense merely excite curiosity. Herodotus tells the
story that people had tried without success to
attract fish with the notes of a flute. Nevertheless,
in some areas the practice obtained of attracting
                                                          Figure 11.5 Hungarian ‘Quakholz’ for attracting sheat-
untrained fish by whistling, and the story that fish        fish.
can be attracted by good vocal and instrumental
music seems to have been known worldwide since
very early times. Often an unconscious training of
fish is mentioned as an explanation. This may be
true, because in Mediterranean waters sharks were
often attracted to underwater explosions. They are
able to hear and, in addition, they may receive the
pressure waves created by the explosion by means
of the lateral line system (Davies 1964).The attrac-
tion can be explained by their learning to proceed
to a place where, after an explosion, food can be
found very easily (Chapter 5).
   As explained at the beginning of this section, it is
not clear whether it is the audible noise which is
attractive, or the sound vibrations, which may be
similar to that of a hampered fish, which is the usual
prey of the predator. It seems that such movements
can be imitated by underwater rattles that imitate
the noises made by movements of small fish or the
noise of crayfish tails flapping (Doogue 1974). The         Figure 11.6 Operation of a ‘Quakholz’ during angling for
shark rattles used in Oceania are very famous.These       sheatfish. (Photo: Solymos, 1965.)
rattles are made of coconut shells or snail shells and
are moved to and fro on the surface of the water.
The rattling noise attracts the sharks, which are then    replaceable, because it can break when used and a
caught by loops being slipped over their heads            new plate then has to be fixed. The plate can also
(Figure 18.18b). Rattles are also used to attract         have a hole in its middle, so that it can be consid-
catfish in African fresh waters (Hickling 1961) and        ered a small version of the so-called pulse sticks
it is said that the old-time Maori fishermen of New        used in many fisheries to frighten the fish by a
Zealand attracted grouper by dumping a flax bag            special noise (see Figure 11.14). Such a hollow
filled with stones on a deep reef (Doogue 1974).           sound is also produced by the croakwood when it
   Another lure which is often cited as having a          is thrust backwards into the water (Figure 11.6).
supposedly acoustic effect is the ‘croakwood’             Formerly a real cowhorn was used for this purpose.
(Quakholz) of the south-east European fisheries,           Later the main part of a spoon without a handle
for luring sheatfish between the rivers Volga and          was nailed onto a stick and used to produce a sound
Danube (Jankó 1900; Antipa 1916; Solymos 1965;            considered attractive to sheatfish, especially the
Bacalbasa 1969). The croakwood is a horn-like
          ¸                                               males. It is thought that this sound imitates the
instrument made of wood (oak, willow or lime tree)        croaking of frogs or the noise of frogs jumping into
with a long knife-like handle and a plate on its end      the water, and this is what attracts the sheatfish.
(Figure 11.5). This plate can be flat and sometimes        According to other people, these implements
156                                  Fish Catching Methods of the World

imitate noises produced by female sheatfish for
attracting the male fish. Doubt attaches to the valid-
ity of both opinions and, actually, nothing is really
known about the sort of noise made by female
sheatfish! It is, however, believed that the sheatfish
is aroused by the noise to approach on an investi-
gating mission, and that it then takes the bait of a
fish or frog offered with a line. But other baits are
also accepted, such as gallnuts and Limacidae,
which never produce any attracting noise! The
croakwood is thought to have originated in the
Hungarian fishery and spread from there to neigh-
bouring countries (Solymos 1976). Interestingly, the
ability to make a special attracting noise was also
known in the Polish fishery for sheatfish
(Znamierowska-Prüfferowa 1976). There is also a
passage from Homer that is interpreted as indicat-
ing that the Greeks already knew about a way of
attracting sheatfish by noise (Jankó 1900).
   Even though there may be some possibility that
in the cases mentioned before the audible sound
causes some positive phonotaxis, so the ringing of
a bell cannot be considered as a natural lure for fish.
An account of the ancient Russian fishery on the
Lake of Peipus (J. Kusnetzow 1898) states that           Figure 11.7 Japanese ‘fish inviter’ for attracting investi-
fishing lines, to which were attached underwater          gating fish by noises simulating the splashes of birds
bells, were used for attracting fish. But here, too, it   attacking small fish at the water surface.
may be doubted whether the sound from the sub-
merged bells really did have an alluring effect.            When small fish chased by their enemy come
   It is understandable that some fish can be             near to the water surface, they attract flocks of
attracted by the noise and the movement of the           birds, which also cause splashing noises when diving
water caused by schools of small fish springing over      for the fish. An acoustic association is presumed for
the water surface to escape their predators. So          tuna and birds. To catch yellowtail, bonito, mack-
rattles also cause vibrations on the surface of the      erel, dolphin (Coryphaena) and tuna with troll
water similar to the splashes made by jumping fish.       lines, the Japanese offered a special ‘fish inviter’
It is supposed that this is a positive phonotaxis,       which imitates these noises of splashing water
although the waves of vibration may also play a          (Figure 11.7). This device is towed on the water
part. A similar effect may be obtained through a         surface. It dives when the fish is hooked, or if it
technique used in South Asia, Africa and South           remains on the water surface with the hooked fish,
America to attract fish by splashing or beating the       the splashing stops. Here have to be added some
water surface with brushwood (Steinberg 1957;            unexpected observations about the behaviour of
Hickling 1961). The same effect was also achieved        fish faced with a curtain of air bubbles. It is known
in the tuna line fishery by spraying the water            that a wall of air bubbles repels fish to some extent
surface with powerful hoses, but it was also desir-      and this is thought to be helpful in some catching
able here that the vessel and the fishermen should        techniques. But there have also been contradictory
be, as far as possible, invisible to the tuna. More-     observations, that fish are attracted by air bubbles.
over, it seems that the sprays also had the effect of    Russian investigations have found (Y. A. Kusnet-
making the lines and hooks difficult to distinguish       zow 1971) that air bubbles can cause low-frequency
from the bait scattered on the water surface (Yuen       noises with the acoustic characteristics of rain,
1969).                                                   waterfalls and small discharging rivers. The latter
                               Attracting, Concentrating and Frightening Fish                               157

may attract fish searching for spawning places in
fresh water. The attraction of predators such as
bonito, tuna, salmon and sea trout to air bubbles is
therefore explained by the fact that an acoustic field
is produced similar to the splashes of small fish.
   The most promising method of using acoustic
lures was expected to be the idea of playing back
natural noises with the help of underwater loud-
speakers.This was reported many times by different
people and many optimistic experiments have been
tried based on playing back noises caused by fish
when feeding, spawning or swimming. The attrac-
tion of tuna searching for food, by sounds caused by
diving sea birds feeding on bait fish, has already
been mentioned with the Japanese ‘fish inviter’. It       Figure 11.8 Rattle fisherman with his two clubs on the
was hoped to catch tuna by using a combination of        ice of the Bodden Sea in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.
acoustic attractive signals of a special frequency       (Copy from a personal video 2001.)
transmitted through the water from a tape recorder
(NN 1974). In 1972 reports came from New Zealand
that the problem of acoustic detection and attrac-       mechanical waves. After World War II this fishing
tion of tuna with the help of an acoustic signal based   method was introduced in Mecklenburg-Vorpom-
on natural feeding sounds of bait fish and birds had      mern by fugitive fishermen from East Prussia. It is
been solved. But these reports did not seem to fulfil     still used in the Bodden Sea (Figure 11.8).
the needs of the commercial fishery. The idea of a
squid lure, also from New Zealand, was expected to
have good attractive properties producing ‘musical
                                                         11.6 Lure lines and aggregating devices
notes’ caused by pressure variations during jigging      Some fish, as well as many crustaceans and octopi,
(NN 1975). This also seems to survive only in the        can be attracted and concentrated by artificial
form of a curiosity.                                     hiding places. This is especially true for bottom-
   There is another fishing method which is often         living animals which need some contact with solid
considered an as example par excellence of an            bodies, i.e. they show positive tactile reactions. This
effective use of noise for the attraction of fish. This   orientation by tactile senses is called thigmotaxis.
is the so-called rattle fishery carried out in winter     Bottom fish and others have a positive thigmotaxis.
on the Kurisches Haff on the Baltic Coast. There a       This behaviour is well known and a special fishery
board is partly pushed through an ice hole while         based on hiding places is described in Chapter 14.
gillnets are arranged in a star-like pattern below the      Other fish, such as pelagic fish shoaling under
ice. Fishermen then drum rhythmically on the             normal conditions, not only keep their distance
board with two wooden clubs, causing a far-reach-        from their own kind but they also try to avoid
ing roaring noise which is designed to attract the       touching any solid body, whether living or dead.
fish (Lundbeck 1954). Here the real explanation is        This can be seen with schools in aquaria or when
probably that there is no positive phonotaxis, but       fishes are encircled by walls of netting. It is known
that the fish are so frightened by the noise and          also that this can change with the fishes’ physiolog-
vibrations that they swim madly around and thus          ical condition. Spawning herring, for example, are
get themselves entangled in the set nets. For this       less careful than non-spawning shoals about
reason the fishermen have to change their fishing          keeping a distance of some metres from the netting
place from time to time, which would not be nec-         of a trawl. Their capacity to maintain distance is
essary if the fish were attracted by this obtrusive       attained by means of optical and tactile senses. In
and wide reaching noise. Strictly speaking, this         contrast to bottom fish, pelagic fish in general have
method does not use noise to attract the fish, but to     a negative thigmotaxis. This is not in contradiction
stir them up by frightening them using acoustic and      to the fact that pelagic fish are caught in nets in
158                                   Fish Catching Methods of the World

which they are pressed passively or which they
cannot see, or that they touch transparent lines or
the so-called ‘feeling lines’ made of fine wire as
were used to detect fish before the invention of fish-
finding apparatus. On the other hand, this does not
mean that some pelagic species of fish would not
like to seek shelter or at least to assemble at certain
distances from a solid body. The latter aspect can be
observed in the neighbourhood of floating bodies
of different types. These can be natural stems of
trees or bushes, or bunches of drifting plants. They
can also be artificial materials, used or lost,
anchored or free-floating such as buoys, kegs or
barrels, logs, rafts and boats, or many other things
considered as marine debris. The reason for this
behaviour of some fish is not quite clear. It can be
due to the need of certain species of fish to seek
shelter without direct contact, or from their desire
for food, which attracts them to floating materials.
Most people think that it is a need for an optical
orientation, or the lure of low-frequency vibrations
produced by the movement of the floating bodies
(Westenberg 1953). Fishermen have known of this
for a long time, and know too that certain species
of fish can be attracted to floats, and have used this
behaviour to catch them. Well known are the sta-
tionary lure lines used by Malay fishermen, espe-
cially in Indonesia (Yamamoto 1975) and Malaysia
(Parry 1954) (Figure 11.9). They are called in
Indonesia ‘rumpon’ (roempon) and in Malaysia,
‘unjang’. They are made up of lines on which palm
leaves (up to 15 or 20) are arranged upon one
another at a distance of 1 fathom or more. Alter-          Figure 11.9 Lure lines used in the Malaysian fishery: (a)
natively, bunches of grass or similar material may         ‘roempon’ of the northern coast of Java (from van Pei
                                                           1938 with permission); (b) lure lines for drive-in nets in
be used – the whole line being supported by
                                                           Malaysia (from Parry 1954 with permission).
bamboo floats and anchored in position. The fish,
once they are concentrated near those lines, can be
caught with other gear as soon as the fishermen             shallow water to give some shelter for milkfish fry.
reckon it to be worthwhile. Liftnets, surrounding          The concentrated fish are caught along the lure
nets, and other gear such as seine nets are used for       lines with the help of skimming nets, and are then
this purpose, but also fishing with handlines and           transported to hatcheries.
gillnets can be successful in the vicinity of lure lines      The association of fish with drifting material in
(Parry 1954). In Thailand a special purse seine for        the pelagic environment has been known for a long
pomfret is operated with lure lines of coconut palm        time in fisheries, and has been widely recorded in
leaves (Nomura & Yamazaki 1975). Lure lines can            recent years. In place of lure lines, other floating
also be used to guide fish into drive-in nets (Figure       objects can also have an attracting and collecting
11.9b). See also Chapter 21.                               effect on fish. Floating rafts have been used. In the
   A special form of operating lure lines to attract       Mediterranean, the so-called ‘kannizzati fishery’
and to catch milkfish fry is practised in Java (Figure      was used for catching Coryphaena hippurus. This
11.10). In this case the lines are exposed in the          lure line, used in Malta, is one with a surface float
                                Attracting, Concentrating and Frightening Fish                                  159

Figure 11.10 Lure lines for attracting milkfish in Java.
(Photo: L. Hoss, Eschborn.)
                                                          Figure 11.11 Rafts for ‘kannizzati’ fishery off Malta:
                                                          (right) original raft made of cork; (left) modern raft made
                                                          of plates of foam plastic (polystyrene) packed in canvas.
made of two rafts of cork, or more recently, plates
of polystyrene foam packed in canvas (Figure
11.11). These anchored floats were set at intervals
along a course running out from the coast into            fish, but in the case of tuna a solution was found
water up to 600 fathoms in depth. The dolphin, here       from their habit of congregating in the neighbour-
called ‘lampuka’, were taken with lampara-like nets       hood not only of drifting floats fitted out with radar
or caught with floating longlines (Burdon 1956; von        reflectors and radio transmitters, which the fisher-
Brandt 1966). Spanish fishermen of Majorca also            men can track and follow for weeks, but also
knew of this method, and called the gear ‘llam-           around permanently anchored objects. There are
puguera’ (Jankó 1900). In recent decades, the             different ideas on how such ‘fish aggregating
method of attracting fish with the help of floating         devices’ (FAD) should be constructed (Figures
rafts and modified lure lines has become more              11.12 and 11.13). As far as is known, the fish-attract-
popular for catching tuna, skipjack, yellowfin, and        ing devices for pelagic fish could be used success-
other pelagic fish, and especially bait fish for pole-      fully in the Philippines, Japan and Hawaii
and-line-fishing for tuna. It is known that these fish      (Matsumoto et al. 1981). It seems that by using
are not always concentrated in the right place and        these constructions not only is the quantity of catch
at the most convenient time, and commercial as            increased but also the time for searching and catch-
well as recreational fishermen spend many hours            ing live bait for tuna is reduced. Moreover, it has to
searching for them. This may also be true for other       be added that aggregating devices are not only of
160                                   Fish Catching Methods of the World

                                                           Figure 11.13 Fish aggregating device, buoy type, as
                                                           proposed in Hawaii (1978).

                                                           green plants were crushed and thrown into the
Figure 11.12 Fish aggregating device, raft-type, as pro-   water to frighten the fish away from unsuitable
posed by the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission.
                                                           places (von Ehrenkreuz 1852). Another method of
                                                           frightening fish away is to use damaged fish, espe-
interest for commercial fisheries but also for recre-       cially their blood. Some species of shoal fish also
ational anglers.                                           have an offensive substance in their skin which,
                                                           when diffused in water after a fish has been injured,
                                                           causes other fish to leave the place for a time (von
11.7 Fish frightening methods                              Frisch 1938). This fact has apparently not been used
Sometimes fish have to be kept away from certain            as much as it might have been, but the thought that
places, or frightened to others where they are more        there was such a scaring substance is, perhaps, indi-
easily caught. This is not a new problem. In ancient       cated in the earlier reference to the occasional use
times one method used to drive fish away from               of fish blood for scaring fish away. It is, however, not
certain areas was to spray the water with ‘hyssop’         as yet proven whether the same scaring substances
(Hyssopus officinalis L), well known from its use in        would not have quite the opposite effect, namely, to
the liturgy of the Catholic Church. This strong-           attract other species such as predatory fish. Sharks,
smelling labiate flower was formerly cultivated in          for instance, are attracted by the blood in the water
Europe as a medicinal and spice plant. The fresh           which frightens other fish away.
                               Attracting, Concentrating and Frightening Fish                                 161

   Fish have always been frightened of noise, so the
success of crowds of natives in mass fishing can well
be understood. In this they frighten the fish with
much noise and commotion and drive them into
bights and on to shallow beaches where they can
easily be caught. Horses, too, can be led into the
water to frighten the fish by their heavy move-
ments. There have been long discussions about
whether or not fish can be frightened by the ultra-
sound of the various types of echo sounder used in
fish finding. There is no reason to believe that the
fishes are frightened, but they may perhaps learn
that the ultra-sound means danger. On the other
hand, it is well known that sea mammals such as
whales and seals can be frightened and guided by
ultra-sound waves. A description of the fisheries in
ancient Russia (J. Kusnetzow 1898) mentions, in
addition to noise, the practices of beating the water,
of casting red-hot stones, and of pouring fish blood
into the water in order to frighten the fish. To
frighten fish by casting stones is very popular, and
some conscientious Japanese have found out that
the most effective way to drive a fish into a net is
to hurl a stone at the side of the fish (Niyazaki &
Yamaguchi 1967)!
   A well-known tool for frightening fish is the so-
called pulse stick (Figure 11.14), used not only in
drive-in fisheries (Chapter 21) but also with seining
(Figure 28.9) and purse seining, to prevent the fish
escaping by frightening them away from the               Figure 11.14 Pulse stick being used to frighten eels into
opening of the gear. More modern experiences have        trammelnets. (Photo: H. Mohr, Hamburg.)
shown that various kinds of fish schools can be star-
tled by playing back dolphin sounds (Hashimoto &
Maniwa 1971). This method, not so successful for         bathers but also for fishermen. Sharks like to attack
attracting fish, can be used to drive jack mackerel       the cod ends of trawls and it may be necessary at
and barracuda into stationary gear. In sea fisheries      times to scare them away, so special ‘shark repel-
it is known that fish can be frightened by intermit-      lents’ are readily available. These are similar to the
tent noises, or by those changing in frequency and       so-called ‘shark chaser’, a product of 20% copper
intensity. Some ideas have been mooted for using         acetate and 80% dark violet pigment, used till 1973
this fact to ‘persuade’ fish that stay near the bottom,   by the US Navy to protect swimming men. Even
but are too high for a bottom trawl to catch them, to    electronic gear has been developed for the protec-
shift position by swimming closer to the bottom and      tion of trawls. The special problem of driving fish
so come within the range of this gear. It has been       into a fishing gear by movement and noise will be
mentioned (Chapter 5) that electricity can be used       discussed later in the context of the so-called ‘drive-
to attract fish compulsorily so that they can be stu-     in’ fishery (Chapter 21).
pefied and caught. But electrical fields are also used
to frighten fish away from certain places, such as the
entrances of water turbines.
                                                         11.8 New ideas
   The knowledge of how to frighten fish, especially      The idea of attracting, concentrating and guiding
shark, has a practical side, not only for divers and     fish by chemical, optical and acoustical influences
162                                  Fish Catching Methods of the World

or other means has inspired science fiction writers           Air bubbles and chemical curtains could, it has
more than once. This can be said of sport fishing as       been suggested, be developed to keep the fish con-
well as commercial fisheries. In the sixties of the last   centrated and then helicopters could spray chemi-
century, some ideas were advanced for attracting          cals to attract, concentrate and guide the fish to
fish by a very weak electrical field, especially in         harvesting machines! Even when there are well-
sport fishing. Equalizing currents between different       known scientific facts as a basis for such ideas as
materials should, it was thought, be sufficient            these, these concepts may also reveal the helpless-
(Shemansky 1966). However, more detailed                  ness of some fisheries in the face of decreasing
research is needed in this direction as well as for       stocks. On the other hand, such methods may
the use of magnetic fields sometimes proposed for          become the basis of action to keep fish stocks under
the same purpose. The same can be said of the             control in the various national economic zones for
proposition that sharks and other predatory fish           their future management in ways similar to herding
may be attracted by feeling with their lateral organs     cattle. These ideas reveal, at any rate, the concern
the weak electric impulses created by the muscle          felt for conserving the resources of the sea for
activity of their prey.                                   future use.
   There is no doubt that there are good reasons             Last, but not least, a very urgent and previously
why methods of attracting and concentrating               mentioned problem must be repeated. Very often,
pelagic fish, especially, are mentioned again and          line fishing on a large scale is hampered by lack of
again as being of interest to the modern fishery. It       bait. This can restrict all commercial fishing
can be seen that areas which once had good pelagic        methods operated with natural bait. As has been
fish concentrations and high fishing activity have          shown, with the exception of troll lining, no syn-
disappeared, and have been replaced by more scat-         thetic or artificial bait has been able to solve this
tered fish in smaller groups. This is contrary to the      problem up to now, not even with the help of
desired basis of an economical bulk fishery. There-        natural bait fish reared in artificial ponds (Hurum
fore, the questions arise of how to concentrate the       1977). A modern example of using artificial bait
remaining fish, how they can be exploited by purse         with natural components is the bait sausage filled
seining with light, and how and where small shoals        with minced fish and alginate as a binder agent
can be brought together to make larger economic           (Bjordal & Løkkeborg 1996) (see also Section
ones. As far as can be seen, until now there has been     9.8).
only one new idea for concentrating these fish suc-
cessfully – and that is with aggregating systems. The     References
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  itime 20 April, 209–212.                                     Schärfe, J. (1953) Über die Verwendung künstlichen
Hickling, F.C. (1961) Tropical Inland Fisheries. London.         Lichtes in der Fischerei. Protokolle zur Fischereitech-
Hosaka, E.Y. (1973) Shore Fishing in Hawaii. Hawaii.             nik 2, 81–109.
Hurum, H.J. (1977) A History of the Fish Hook and the          Shemansky, Y.A. (1966) Modern Sportfishing in Seawater.
  Story of Mustad the Hook Maker. London.                        St Petersburg [in Russian].
Jankó, J. (1900) Herkunft der Magyarischen Fischerei.          Solymos, E. (1965) Dunai halászat. [Artisanal Fishery in
  Budapest/Leipzig.                                              the Hungarian Part of the River Danube]. Budapest [in
Klima, E.F. (1971) The automated fishing platform. In:            Hungarian].
  Modern Fishing Gear of the World Vol. 3, 498–501.            Solymos, E. (1976) Die südslawischen Beziehungen der
  London.                                                        ungarischen Donaufischerei. In: Studien zur Tradi-
Kuhn, G. (1976) Die Fischerei im Oberrhein. In: Hohen-           tionellen Europäischen Fischerei (ed. E. Solymos), Bajai
  heimer Arbeiten 83, Agraroekonomie. Stuttgart.                 Dolgozatok 3, 65–72. Baja.
Kusnetzow, J. (1898) Fischerei und Tiererbeutung in den        Steinberg, R. (1957) Unterwassergeräusche und
  Gewässern Russlands. St Petersburg.                            Fischerei. Protokolle zur Fischereitechnik 4, 216–
Kusnetzow, Y.A. (1971) The behaviour of fish in the zone          249.
  affected by a curtain of air bubbles. In: Fish Behaviour     Verheijen, F.J. (1958) The mechanisms of the trapping
  and Fishing Techniques (ed. A. P. Alekseev), 103–110.          effect of artificial light sources upon animals. Archives
  Jerusalem.                                                     Néerlandaises de Zoologie 13, 1–107.
Lange, K. & Mohr, H. (1982) Erfolgreicher Versuch mit          Voss, G.L. (1973) Cephalopod resources of the world.
  Wracknetzen. Informationen für die Fischwirtschaft 29          FAO Fisheries Circular No. 149.
  (3), 150–152.                                                Westenberg, J. (1953) Acoustical aspects of some Indo-
Ligers, Z. (1953) La Cueillette, la Chasse et la Pêche en        nesian fisheries. Journal du Conseil 18, 311–325.
  Lettonie. Paris.                                             Wickham, D.A. & Seidel, W.R. (1973) A self-contained
Lundbeck, J. (1954) Fanggeräte der Haff- und See-                subsurface light source system for fish attraction.
  fischerei an der Preussischen Bucht. Protokolle zur Fis-        Marine Fisheries Review 35 (10), 14–19.
  chereitechnik 3, 14–30, 1954.                                Yamamoto, I. (1975) Ketentua Kerja Buku I, Standard Sta-
Matsumoto, W.M., Kazama, T.K. & Aasted, D.C. (1981)              tistik Perikanan. Jakarta [in Indonesian].
  Anchored fish aggregating devices in Hawaiian waters.         Yuen, H.S.H. (1969) Response of skipjack tuna (Katsu-
  Marine Fisheries Review 43 (9), 1–13.                          wonus pelamis) to experimental changes in pole-and-
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  gemeine Fischereizeitung 83, 41–43.                            Conference on Fish Behaviour in Relation to Fishing
Mohr, H. (1960) Das Verhalten von Fischen gegenüber              Techniques and Tactics. FAO Fisheries Report No. 62,
  Fanggeräten. Protokolle zur Fischereitechnik 6,                607–618.
  296–326.                                                     Znamierowska-Prüfferowa, M. (1976) Bemerkungen zur
Niyazaki, Ch. & Yamaguchi, Y. (1967) Effects of throwing         traditionellen Fischerei in Polen. In: Studien zur
  stone to drive the fish into gillnet. Bulletin of the Tokai     Europäischen Traditionellen Fischerei (ed. E. Solymos),
  Regional Fisheries Research Laboratory 50, 31–39.              Bajai Dolgozatok 3,17–34.
                        Pole-hooks and Rippers

In line fisheries, the hook itself can act as bait. Some         laid in the water channels of the tidal area.The seals
fish, on seeing the sparkling hook, are attracted by             come in with the tide, over the hooks, but when they
curiosity; they seem to regard it as prey, snap at it,          are frightened back during low tide they hook
and thus are often caught. Unbaited hooks can,                  themselves when passing through the channels on
however, also be used on quite different principles.            their return to the sea (Wiebalk 1917).
They are then no longer passive hooks taken by the                 An essential requirement for such ‘rippers’ is, of
fish, but they are actively guided so that their points          course, that they be very sharp. Several different
hook, spear or rip a fish on it coming within their              types of ripping hooks are known. They can be
range. Fish thieves are sometimes caught who cast               active gear such as pole-hooks – better known as
a line with sharp pointed triple hooks into fish                 gaffs – or multi-pointed implements which can be
ponds or into natural waters where fish are spawn-               thrown like harrows over the ground and rip with
ing and, by pulling them to and fro, hope to hook a             their sharp teeth, or they can be ‘pilks’ used for
fish anywhere in its body. Unlike the usual line                 jigging. A special group of rippers are handlines
fishery, in these cases the hook is not used as a                with squid hooks in the form of active gear, as men-
carrier of bait, or even as bait itself. Its movements,         tioned above, or with single hooks used as passive
at the most, arouse the attention of the fish, may               gear with floating or stationary longlines in stur-
attract it, and then, by a quick movement of the                geon and other fisheries.
hook, the fish may possibly be pierced and caught.
This is not foul-hooking by mistake, but a deliber-
ate tactic to catch the prey. As can be seen from the
                                                                12.1 Pole-hooks and gaffs
following examples, catching with ‘active hooks’ is             Fishing with the ripping hook can be done by fas-
not only successful with fish but also with other                tening a strong single hook, or even several hooks,
prey, such as squid.                                            to the end of a wooden or bamboo pole (Figure
   In Vietnam cuttlefish are caught by handlines                 12.2). Certainly, fishing by means of a pole-hook
which have at the end a conventional multi-pointed              with which a fish is quickly pulled from the water is
squid hook (Serêne et al. 1956). Above that a little            much more primitive than fishing with unwatched
hook is fastened to hold the bait. This bait (usually           hooks and lines or with other forms of ripping
a dead fish) attracts the squid to gather round. Then            hooks.
the line is quickly pulled up and the squid, or some               The rod, with its hook ready, is held in the water
of them, are pierced by the points of the ascending             patiently waiting until a fish passes or until a fish is
squid hook (Figure 12.1).                                       felt to be touching the rod; then the quick jerk
   Ripper-like hooks have been used not only to                 impales it on the hook and it is pulled from the
catch fish and squid but also sea mammals such as                water. This can be done in open waters and even
seals. In the shallows of north-western Europe,                 beneath ice. This practice, with a pole-hook, was
beams fitted with 20–30 long and extremely sharp                 formerly very popular in old Russia for catching
barbed hooks pointed towards the shore have been                sturgeon (Jankó 1900). The method is also con-

                                           Pole-hooks and Rippers                                          165

                                                         although there are some exceptions, such
                                                         as the barbed gaffs of the Maoris mentioned
                                                         previously. Also, Japanese fishermen use strong
                                                         barbed hooks laid in the bed of a river to await
                                                         the approach of a salmon (Kishinouge 1941; NN
                                                         1959–65). In this case the hook is mounted at the
                                                         end of a pole of wood or bamboo 4–5 m long. With
                                                         this gear, fishermen wait during the night for
                                                         salmon to pass. As soon as the fish is felt touching
                                                         the hook, the fisherman quickly and strongly draws
                                                         the hook towards himself to hook the fish. When
Figure 12.1 Operation of ripping hooks for catch-        used illegally for catching salmon in Ireland, these
ing squid in Vietnam. (From Serêne et al. 1956 with
permission.)                                             ripping instruments also have a barb which enables
                                                         the fish to be retained more readily (Went 1964).
                                                         These poles with hooks, especially for catching
                                                         salmon, are considered a traditional method of
                                                         river fishing. Until the 1970s they were used by pro-
                                                         fessional fishermen in the estuaries and rivers of
                                                         England and Wales (Jenkins 1974). The single-
Figure 12.2 Arabian pole-hook of Syria.                  barbed pole-hook has been considered a universal
                                                         implement for the capture of salmon in daytime
                                                         and during the night with artificial light.
sidered as probably the oldest form of huso fishing          Today, unbarbed pole-hooks are better known as
(de Rohan-Csermak 1963). The experienced Maori           auxiliary gear for landing and lifting fish from the
fishermen of New Zealand use pole-hooks for               water into a boat, or onto the bank, when caught
gaffing migrating eel during the night when they do       with other gear. They are then described as ‘gaffs’
not grasp them by hand. But pole-hooks are, or           but in reality the gaff hook is a relic of a very
have been, used for many other fish in Europe, Asia       early fishing gear. In commercial fisheries, gaffs are
and Africa. This technique, in fact, is so simple that   needed for line fishing, trapping, even spearing and
its wide distribution is not surprising. As with the     some other methods, and always when large fish
spear, the pole-hook can only be regarded as a           have to be taken out of the water. They are also
lengthened arm of a person, with which aquatic           necessary when many fish have to be picked up in
creatures such as fish, squid, octopi, abalone and sea    a convenient manner.
cucumbers can be grasped. It may be of interest that        In general, the gaff is a simple gear consisting of
pole-hooks belong to the gear operated both in fish-      a short wooden stick with a large specially made
eries and for hunting. The hunter uses this gear for     strong hook. Finnish fishermen know of a gaff
taking animals out of their burrows. Small forms of      similar to an eel comb, with six prongs, which is
pole-hooks have been already mentioned as tools          described as a ‘fish axe’ (Figure 12.3). A partic-
for hand-picking (Chapter 2). A wooden stick with        ularly interesting form of gaff is used in the
a small fishing hook tied on the end can be used not      Columbia River for white sturgeon (Acipenser
only for dislodging crabs from their holes but also      transmontanus) caught by longlines, where the stick
to pick up sand worms and even to catch small eels       of the gaff is replaced by a braided rope. The rope-
and trout, although this is considered to be gaffing      attached hook is considered less dangerous than
even though the hook of this gear is only a small        one with a stiff wooden handle. Moreover, as with
fishing hook. Usually larger fish have to be caught,       the fish plummets, the reach can be increased by
which needs not only stronger poles but also             replacing the pole with a rope. Note that sometimes
heavier, long-shanked hooks. Some consider these         gaffs longer than 2.4 m, or fitted with > 9 m of rope,
long-handled hooks as older than the hooks used in       may be illegal (Doogue 1974).
line fishing (Augur 1894). In this case the pole-            Better known, and also better constructed, are
hooks are of strong forged metal, without a barb,        gaffs used in sport fisheries. The main reason for
166                                   Fish Catching Methods of the World

Figure 12.3 Finnish ‘fish axe’, a six-pointed gaff. (From
Mäki & Pitkänen 1969 with permission.)
                                                           Figure 12.4 Fluke bar or ‘murderer’ of southern
                                                           England. (From Davis 1958 with permission.)
using them is because the fishing line may be too
fine and weak for lifting larger prey out of the
water. This has to be done with the gaff, which
sometimes can be extended like a telescope. In this
case the gaff replaces the landing net (Chapter 10).
Sports fishermen also use a more highly developed
gaff called a ‘flying gaff’.As with harpoons, the head
of the gaff is detachable from the handle, but to
avoid losing the hook and prey the hook is tied to
the boat with a strong line (Trench 1974).

12.2 Fish harrows
As mentioned at the beginning of this chapter,
hooks can be dragged over an area for ripping fish.         Figure 12.5 Old Indonesian fish harrow. (Photo: Ethno-
Sharpened fishing hooks may be cast out from the            graphical Museum, Leiden.)
beach, or from a bridge, and pulled in again in the
hope of spearing or piercing a fish. This can be done
not only with a single or triple hook, but also with
a whole row of hooks which is then raked over
the bottom like a harrow. This method is especially
useful for catching flatfish. English fishermen called
this implement a ‘fluke bar’. This was actually an
iron rod equipped with a row of sharp fishing hooks
with barbs (Figure 12.4). When the fish rake was
towed over the ground, either by a boat or by a
person standing up in the water, the sharp hooks
cut into the bottom and impaled any fish encoun-
tered. The gear was also called the ‘murderer’,
which not only correctly describes its success but
also its damaging effect. A similar method of              Figure 12.6 Japanese ‘bunchin kogitsuri’.
dragging an implement that looks like a comb with
hooks is also known in Asia. In Java, small ‘harrows’
were used which were similar to the English fluke
bar (Figure 12.5). As they were made of wood,              (Figure 12.6) and the rod is towed by a motor boat.
stones were normally attached as weights (Juynboll         The transverse rod can be up to 8 m long so that it
1914).                                                     rakes over a considerable area. This implement,
   The Japanese had a similar gear for piercing fish        with its multiple ripping hooks, certainly has an
on the bottom, which although now of a different           adverse effect on fish stocks. The hooks, when
design, serves the same purpose. Quadruple hooks           towed over the bottom, can also be used for ripping
are fastened with short casts to a transverse rod          seaweed, sponges and corals. In the freshwater
                                           Pole-hooks and Rippers                                                167

fishery of the United States, a similar gear called the
‘crow-foot bar’ with barbless hooks, is used for
lifting freshwater mussels in a commercial fishery
(Dumont & Sundstrom 1961). Ancient Venetian
fishermen were familiar with such gear under the
name of ‘trezzola’ and used it for securing sponges
and corals. In the Philippines a similar instrument
was used for harvesting siliceous sponges (Marshall
   There are also some types of dredges (Chapter
25) with long sharp teeth at their openings. Their
purpose is to dig out fish, shells and other animals
from the bottom, but they may also cause un-
desirable damage to their prey. In contrast to fish
harrows, dredges have collecting bags, which means
that piercing is not the aim of this fishing method.

12.3 Pilking with handlines
Very popular, especially in northern countries, is
the technique of catching fish with handlines and
ripping hooks. This method is known by many dif-
ferent names, such as ‘pilking’ and ‘jigging’, and is
operated in fresh waters as well as in the seas. The
principle is to get the catch by piercing the fish any-
where in its body with an active, mostly unbaited
device called a pilk, ripper or jig/jigger. (The name
jig or jigger is, unfortunately, also used for other
artificial lures including, for example, those used in
   Originally, the pilk was a flashing weight, usually
                                                         Figure 12.7 Rippers used in northern lands: (a) ripper
made of metal, combined with one or more hooks.          used in freshwater fishery for perch; (b) anchor-like pilk
To catch a fish, the pilk is moved up and down to         for cod; (c) pilk made from three hooks and a lead as
attract it and to pierce it with the sharp hook. That    used off western Greenland; (d) simple Norwegian
movement can be achieved by casting the line and         ‘juksa’ for cod; (e) modern Norwegian ‘juksa’ with
                                                         movable triple hook; (f) pilk for herring in the Bay of Kiel,
then quickly hauling it in, or else by raising and
dropping the hook with small jerky movements. In
the latter case, handlines, with or without rods, are
used for jerking the hook up and down. The fish is           Simple pilks with one hook are used, but some
attracted by these movements of the pilk, comes          have a transverse rod or two arms like balance lines
nearer, and is then foul-hooked in its body. This        from which two lines are suspended (Figure 9.1e).
fishing method, however, does not always capture          Rippers are especially used for the slower-moving
the fish by piercing it, and sometimes the hook is        spawning fish, or when fishing through ice-holes in
actually taken by the fish. The pilk can be an artifi-     the winter. With older types of the up-and-down
cial lure such as those used for spin fishing (Figure     jerking pilks, the shank of the hook is provided with
10.12), but they are mostly more specialized types       a fish-shaped glittering lead weight (Figure 12.7a).
(Figure 12.7). The pilk must be weighted so that it      In many types, hook and weight are a single piece,
will sink quickly and also have the necessary force      with one or two hooks arranged like the flukes of
and weight to penetrate a fish’s body when it is          an anchor (Figure 12.7b). Mostly, the pilks for fish
pulled upwards.                                          are fitted with triple or quadruple hooks. There is
168                                 Fish Catching Methods of the World

one exception, and this is the ‘lakekrone’ (lake          stated at the beginning of this chapter, this method
crown) of the Norwegians – used for catching              is mainly used by fish thieves. Nevertheless, jigging
burbot (Lota lota) (Ormstad & Rom 1972). This is          is also practised by some sports fishermen. When
a jig similar to the ‘umbrella hooks’ with many           ice fishing or hake jigging, the Scandinavians use a
unbarbed hooks, used for catching cephalopods             small rod, sometimes also with a reel.
(see Figure 12.21d). More modern types of jigs               Jigging is a much more widespread practice in sea
have the hook and weight in two separated pieces          fisheries than it is in fresh waters. The cod ‘Koppel’
(von Brandt 1960) although the hook may be com-           and the so-called ‘Heringshaue’, a herring fishing
bined with the weight through a swivel (Figure            gear, are used all around the Baltic. Both types of
12.7e) or a little chain. Often pilks are home-made,      gear are genuine rippers (Henking 1929). Even
using a lead weight and some normal fishing hooks          handlines with many hooks are used like rippers in
tied together (Figure 12.7c). The hooks used as           sea fisheries to catch mackerel and other fish. In this
rippers are generally barbed.The main requirement         case the hooks are fitted with feathers to attract
of the pilk is that the hooks be sharp. Strangely,        the mackerel; some hook themselves, others are
plankton feeders can also be attracted by the move-       pierced. Nowadays, the feathers can be replaced by
ments of the ripper, which is why herring can be          bands of split fibres. The handline fishery for cod in
caught by this method, as is done in the Bay of Kiel      northern areas is often more a ripping line-fishery.
and at other places on the German Baltic coast            That is why cod caught by the Norwegian ‘juksa’
when the fish arrive for spawning.                         line are often not hooked in the mouth, but pierced
   The technique of catching fish by jigging is wide-      elsewhere by the up-and-down movement of the
spread. In European freshwater fisheries, rippers          jig. Ripper fishermen can be found on many coasts.
are usually used in the winter or spring, when the           The Turks have, for many years, maintained a pilk
fish are still slow and not so apt to be frightened        fishery for bluefish (Pomatomus saltator L).This fish
away by the moving hooks (Seligo 1925). In some           comes in large shoals through the Bosporus early in
countries, however, this method is prohibited in          the year (Figure 12.8). To withstand the strong cur-
fresh water because the fish are caught more or            rents of this area, the weights of the pilks operated
less haphazardly and may be seriously injured. As         for this fishing are often as heavy as 1200 g. Mercury

Figure 12.8 Turkish fishermen pilking for bluefish in the Bosporus (1971).
                                             Pole-hooks and Rippers                                          169

                                                           Figure 12.10 Norwegian hand-reel for ‘juksa’ fishing.

Figure 12.9 A pilk for bluefish is polished with mercury
to make it sparkle, Bosporus (1971).

was used to polish the pilk to increase its attraction
to the fish (Figure 12.9). Large triple hooks, in the
past made by the fishermen themselves, usually
pierce the dorsal fin of the fish. As a result of
increased vessel traffic and other coastal structures
in this region in the past 20 years, this kind of fishery
                                                           Figure 12.11 Caught by a Chinese longline with ripping
is no longer used (pers. comm. 2000).                      hooks. (From Kasuga & Osaka 1975 with permission.)
   Fishing with hand-operated pilks is a simple,
inexpensive, labour-intensive method, but never-
theless an effective one. It is, therefore, under-         rip themselves (Figure 12.11). They also have
standable that efforts have been made to replace           small anchored rafts (Figure 12.12) covered with
the regular and tiring up-and-down movement                branches or wheat straw, which offer a good hiding
of the hand by manually operated mechanical                place for some fish. From these rafts more than
arrangements (Figure 12.10). Even the use of short         20 ripping hooks are hung on short lines on which
sticks can be less tiring. Special short ‘pilkestikke’     fish, looking for shelter, hook themselves (Kasuga
with reels for the line movement are known in              1975). The Chinese stationary longlines, with longer
sport fishing. More effective were reels fixed on the        by-lines (Figure 9.19), were mentioned in Chapter
gunwale of the fishing vessel. Power-operated               9. If the description of ancient Chinese fishing prac-
jigging methods soon followed (see Section 12.6).          tices (de Thiersant 1872) is correct, Chinese fisher-
                                                           men used longlines which had whole systems of
                                                           main and by-lines with sharp ripping hooks set to
12.4 Rippers on stationary lines
                                                           entangle and hook large fish (Figure 12.13). Here
and troll lines                                            sturgeons, probably from the Amur area, are spe-
Rippers can also be operated with set lines,               cially mentioned as being among the fish caught.
especially with stationary longlines. In the Chinese          Around the Black Sea, longlines with sharp hooks
freshwater fishery longlines are known which have           are set to catch sturgeons by ripping. The bodies of
short branch lines, each with one sharp hook, tied         these fish are covered with single ‘bone plates’, the
at short intervals on the main line, on which the fish      ganoid scales, and the ripping hooks easily catch
170                                    Fish Catching Methods of the World

Figure 12.12 Chinese bamboo raft with ripping hooks.
In operation the raft is covered with straw. (From Kasuga
& Osaka 1975 with permission.)                              Figure 12.14 Different construction of sturgeon lines.
                                                            The branch lines are: (a) floating; (b) hanging; or (c)
                                                            alternately hanging and floating.

                                                            earlier, these hooks have small barbs to prevent the
                                                            line for the float slipping over the point of the hook
                                                            (Figure 12.16). Finally, the hooks may be set alter-
                                                            nately with and without floats. This means that each
                                                            second hook is floating or hanging down, some-
                                                            times resting on the seabed (Figure 12.14c). This
                                                            type of hook was used in the Black Sea by Turkish
                                                            and Rumanian fishermen for sturgeon fishing
                                                            (Figures 12.17 and 12.18) (Mengi 1968; von Brandt
Figure 12.13 Chinese longline with by-lines. The hooks      1969). If a sturgeon swims through such a hook
act as entangling ripping hooks. (From de Thiersant
1872 with permission.)
                                                            curtain, the sharp hooks are likely to get a grip on
                                                            the bony plates with ease (NN 1951; Nikolski 1957;
                                                            von Brandt 1969). There is some evidence that
under these. For this purpose, longlines are set with       these hooks were originally made of wood and used
branch lines fitted with sharpened coarse hooks              in the rivers Dvina and Ob in northern Eurasia (de
attached side by side to the main line. This can be         Rohan-Csermak 1963). Therefore, pointing down
done in several different ways (Figure 12.14). Some-        may have been their original orientation. From the
times the line floats and all hooks hang on short            north this ‘samalow’ hook spread to south-east
branch lines with the points up (Figure 12.14b).This        Europe with migrating Turkish tribes in the Black
type of line was used in the sturgeon fishery in the         Sea area, covering the lower Danube and Dnepr,
Caspian Sea as late as the 1950s (Figure 12.15).            the Sea of Azov with the Don, and the Caspian Sea
   Originally the main lines were set on the bottom,        with the Volga. But today it is prohibited in many
e.g. in the mouth of a river, and each hook was             places (including the Caspian Sea) as the sturgeon,
floated by a small float fixed on the bend of the              though they may be seriously injured, can free
hook with the point of the hook was turned down             themselves by struggling. On the lower Danube,
(Figure 12.14a). In contrast to the line mentioned          species of fish other than sturgeon have also been
                                           Pole-hooks and Rippers                                          171

Figure 12.15 Floating longlines with ripping hooks as formerly used in the Caspian Sea. (From NN 1951 with

Figure 12.16 Sturgeon hook from the Black Sea.
Between point and bend the hook has a thickening like
a barb to prevent the rope with the float attached (see
Figure 12.14a) from slipping over the point.

caught by fishing lines with just such ripping
  Interestingly, longlines with dense rows of sus-       Figure 12.17 Turkish sturgeon fisherman controlling his
pended ripping hooks have also been known and            sturgeon lines in the Red River (1967).
are still used in other parts of the world. Longlines
with ripping hooks hanging as narrowly as a curtain
are known from the River Niger (Figure 12.19).           hanging close together. Such lines are stretched
Here, the line with short branch lines tied at very      across a river to catch fish by them ripping them-
short intervals is fixed between sticks so that the       selves. The branch lines can be very short (Figure
unbaited hooks are hanging a short distance from         12.20). There is even one type of longline with
the bottom (Welcomme 1970, 1979). Similar ripping        unbaited hooks which has no branch lines. In this
longlines are known from the area of Lake Chad           case the hooks are tied directly onto the main line,
(Blache & Miton 1962), with short branch lines           which is quite extraordinary.
172                                  Fish Catching Methods of the World

                                                          Figure 12.19 Anchored longlines with ripping hooks are
                                                          floated some distance above the bottom of the River
                                                          Niger. (Photo: Bacalbas

Figure 12.18 Rumanian fisherman maintaining stur-
geon lines in a fishermen’s camp on the estuary of the
Danube near Sulina (1976).

Figure 12.20 Very short branch lines of a longline with ripping hooks in a village of Benin fishermen near Lagune
Aby, Ivory Coast (1971).
                                            Pole-hooks and Rippers                                          173

   Ripping hooks can also be towed to catch fish as
can be seen from the example of the various fish
harrows. Unbaited longlines with short snoods
ending in extremely sharp barbless hooks, which
are towed over the bottom, are also known in
large-scale fisheries. Malayan fishermen of Singa-
pore used a line that is supported, at short intervals,
by wooden floats. One end is attached to a raft-like
buoy, the other being retained on the boat so that
the gear forms a low curtain of hooks just above the
seabed. Fish passing through this barrier can be
hooked and are subsequently entangled by other
hooks in their struggle to escape (Burdon 1954).
The towing of a longline over the ground can also
be considered a form of trolling with ripping hooks.
In the introduction to this chapter the practice of
thieves, whereby rippers are towed through a pond
with a dense fish population, was mentioned. An
‘improved’ variation of this method can be seen in
Malaysia, where young people throw heavily-
weighted triple hooks into the water and draw them
back with violent jerking movements with the help
of a rod and a reel similar to those used in spin
fishing (Chapter 10).

12.5 Rippers for cephalopods
                                                          Figure 12.21 Special hooks for squid: (a) long type of
For catching cephalopods (squid, cuttlefish and            Taiwan (Formosa); (b) long type of Greece; (c) com-
octopus), various types of handlines, longlines and       posite hook of Italy; (d) usual Mediterranean type; (e)
troll lines are used with ripping hooks. Multi-           small type used in Portugal; (f) double hook of Korea.
hooked rippers are considered typical for this
fishery (Figure 12.21). Mostly these rippers or jigs
are short stems of lead weight painted white and red
or wrapped in pieces of white or dyed linen or even
velvet. They can also be made from horn and bone.
   Modern ones are made of plastic. The colour of
these stems is considered important for the success
of the catch. In some Japanese experiments, red and
orange stems with inserted pieces of shell proved
most efficient, whilst white ones and those of silvery
metal were the least effective. One end of the stem
is fitted with one, two or even three circles of
upturned barbless hooks made of stainless steel. In
contrast to the rippers used for squid, those used        Figure 12.22 Ripping hooks made by fishermen for
for octopus are simpler in construction and have a        cephalopods: (a) Madagascar (1964); (b) Senegal, for
                                                          cuttlefish (1971); (c) Argentina (1979).
single circle of barbless hooks only. The hooks are
generally unbarbed but, because some fishermen
make their own rippers for squid, cuttlefish and           rippers are mostly used unbaited, rippers for
octopus with whatever hooks are available, barbed         octopus can be baited when fishing during daytime
ones can also be found (Figures 12.22a,b).Although        to lure the prey out of their hiding places and into
174                                  Fish Catching Methods of the World

                                                          Figure 12.24 Japanese traditional double handline for

Figure 12.23 Different types of squid hooks operated in   and even two poles fastened to one wooden handle
Korea, the longest one with a small lamp.                 (Figure 12.24), or a bifurcated pole with two lines,
                                                          may be operated in this fishery. For fishing in
                                                          deeper water a gear is used resembling the balance
the range of the gear. There are different sizes of       lines for catching fish (Figure 9.1e). An improve-
these rippers (sometimes called ‘umbrella hooks’)         ment was made in the 1950s by replacing a single
used particularly in East Asia, in the Mediterranean      ripper with many in a ‘chain system’ having many
area, along the African coasts and also in the north-     ripping hooks in one row – operated like a vertical
ern Atlantic, even as far as Iceland. Nowadays the        longline. These serial jigging gear (Figure 12.25)
typical squid hook has many variations. When the          and clam jigging gear for shallow waters brought a
squid are more scattered, longer hooks are used           dramatically increase of fishing efficiency. Manually
and there are some with a small battery-powered           operated jigging machines were introduced then for
lamp in the head of the ripper (Figure 12.23). This       moving these handlines, with the rippers, up and
hook can be taken by a cephalopod like a passive          down (Figure 12.25). These were originally simple
fishing gear; when it is touched, the sharp hooks rip      rollers, as used when jigging for fish, but more
the body or tentacles of the animal. The same             advanced manually operated winding machines
implement may also be used like a typical active          soon followed (Figure 12.26). At the same time the
ripper, hooking any cephalopod that comes near            chain system mentioned above was introduced,
when it is jigged with quick jerks (Lane 1960).           each line often carrying many different types of jigs
   Simple handlines are considered the original gear      (Figure 12.27). For this reason the ‘umbrella hooks’
for catching squid as well as octopus or cuttlefish.       have an eyelet ring at each end of the stem (Figure
They can be similar to the normal handlines, like         12.23) so that they can be inserted at any desired
those in Figure 9.1, but pole-and-line fishing gear,       spacing along the nylon line suspended from the
                                             Pole-hooks and Rippers                                              175

Figure 12.25 Korean squid fishing: behind, older form with pole and line; front, newer type with hand-operated jigging
machine (1972).

                                                               Typical of all longlines with ripping hooks is
                                                            the short distance between branch lines (compare
                                                            Figures 12.11, 12.12, 12.15 and 12.20). This is also
                                                            true for the longlines operated to catch octopi.
                                                            Figure 12.28 is a drawing of a Korean octopus line
                                                            in correct scale. As often for fish, the main line is
                                                            kept some distance off the bottom. As soon as the
                                                            octopus tries to pass between the hooks, it will rip
                                                            itself (Pennington 1979).
Figure 12.26 Hand-operated winding machine.                    In the Far East, various types of weighted jigs or
                                                            jig type lures are also trolled in deeper water to
jigging machine. With the original hand-driven              catch cephalopods (Figure 12.30). Sometimes the
(later motor-driven) jigging machine, rhythmical            gear with baited hooks is towed from a vessel over
vertical movements of the rippers were caused by            the bottom like a troll line (Figure 12.31b). In other
a reel with an eccentric centre axis, or by an egg-         cases single lines with one hook, each connected to
shaped or elliptical form of drum. The next step was        an individual buoy, are drifted with the current
the fully automatic squid jigging machine (about            and/or wind, like a free driftline. When an
1960), which is described in Section 12.6 dealing           octopus has taken the ripping hook, the buoy stops
with mechanization.                                         drifting and the line is hauled up (Yajima & Mitsugi
   Octopi are also caught with longlines with               1976).
ripping hooks, baited or unbaited (Figure 12.28).
The single or double hooks are considered un-
barbed (Yamashita 1976), but there is a very small
                                                            12.6 Mechanization of jigging
barb at the base of the point to secure the bait            To jerk ripping hooks up and down by hand, maybe
(Figure 12.29).                                             for hours as when fishing for cod or squid, can
176                                  Fish Catching Methods of the World

Figure 12.27 Chain system for different types of squid hooks beginning with an illuminated hook at the top. The
longest hooks are near the bottom, Korea (1972).

Figure 12.28 Korean set line with ripping hooks, baited
or unbaited, for catching octopi (1972).

                                                          Figure 12.30 Japanese ripping hooks towed on the
                                                          bottom for catching octopi.

                                                          saithe which expedited the development of their
                                                          fully automatic ‘juksa’ machines working with
                                                          10–15 rubber-covered hooks (Figure 8.20), mostly
                                                          unbaited. The automatic jigging machine lets the
                                                          hook sink down to a specified depth and then starts
                                                          jigging with an adjustable range of up-and-down
Figure 12.29 Double hook for ripping octopi. The small
                                                          motion and at a pre-determined speed. When the
barb is for securing the bait, Korea (1972).              weight is increased by a caught fish, and the pre-set
                                                          weight is reached, jigging is discontinued and the
                                                          catch is hauled up automatically; the hauling func-
become very exhausting. Therefore, different types        tion stops when fish and hook are on the surface and
of manually operated winches and reels were intro-        the fish can be unhooked. Normally one person
duced to facilitate the up-and-down movements of          operates two machines and is able to land a catch
the pilks in these fisheries (Figures 12.10 and 12.25).    about as big as six people using manual methods.An
It was, especially, the Norwegian fishery for cod and      adjustable electromagnetic clutch makes it possible
                                          Pole-hooks and Rippers                                           177

to play large fish such as halibut automatically, and     fishermen and their further development through
to compensate for the roll of the boat in rough          several years has resulted in real fishing robots
weather. It has been said that some of the larger        working with micro-processors. The robots have
boats in Norway have up to eight such fully auto-        several automatic fishing programs and fishermen
matic jigging machines operating at one time.            can choose the ones which best suits the type of
Nowadays the use of such machines by thousands of        fishing they want to do. Depth and range can be
                                                         adjusted to maximize fishing efficiency. Figure 12.32
                                                         shows such a modern jigging robot with a micro-
                                                         processor as electronic brain. Normally the wheel of
                                                         a robot takes 500 m of 1.4 mm monofilament line,
                                                         sufficient for most methods of fishing. This type of
                                                         robot can also be used for squid fishing with 30–40
                                                            The mechanization for squid fishermen started in
                                                         the Far East with the replacement of hand-driven
                                                         squid angling roller systems with those with a
                                                         mechanical drive. It followed an automatic jigging
                                                         machine system, which simulated the action of tra-
                                                         ditional jigging by hand-operated lines or by man-
                                                         ually driven wheels. The line is set by the machine
                                                         to depths of 30 m to > 140 m and as soon as the
                                                         required depth is reached the line is wound in with
                                                         jerking movements (Chen 1976). As in other
Figure 12.31 Korean ripping handlines for catching       systems, the jerking action of the line is obtained by
octopi: (a) for pilking from an anchored vessel; (b)     winding onto reels with an eccentric axis or on ellip-
ripping troll line (1979).
                                                         tical or egg-shaped reels. The line was replaced by

Figure 12.32 Japanese squid jigging machine on a Chinese vessel. (Photo: T. F. Chen.)
178                                   Fish Catching Methods of the World

Figure 12.33 Japanese     automatic    squid   angling
machine in operation.

a ‘chain’ with 50 or more rippers which was led over
two rollers, one inboard and one outboard of the
gunwale (Figures 12.32 and 12.33) but later only
over one roller (Figures 12.34).The outboard roller
is mounted on a frame with plastic-coated wire           Figure 12.34 Single automatic squid jigging machine
                                                         with metal mesh covered frame on a large Japanese
mesh, onto which the caught squid falls as the jigs      vessel in the harbour of Littleton, New Zealand, in 1981.
flick over the roller. Japanese squid jigging vessels     The machine is turned up into its neutral position.
have as many as 20–24 or more mechanized jiggers.
This fishery for squid is operated during the night
with garlands of mostly white or blue glass lamps
suspended between the masts of the vessel to
attract the squid (Ben-Yami 1976). The fully-
mechanized jigging machines have the important
advantage of sparing manpower, because one               fishery was not associated with any disadvanta-
person can operate up to five automatic jigging           geous bottom impacts, as seen in bottom trawling,
machines simultaneously. Figure 12.35 shows              and also resulted in larger species being caught
Japanese squid fishers in the harbour of Hakodate.        (Schäfer & Czyborra 1985). Very important equip-
One major consideration of such boats is the light-      ment especially for deep sea vessels are the mizzen
ing system for which a separate electric generator       sail and the sea anchor. Sea anchors can be of the
may be required and masts may have to be rigged.         sail type (see Figure 8.36) or parachute type (see
Squid jigging vessels cover a considerable size          Figure 8.37). The diameter of the parachute ranges
range from about 3 to 500 GT. But there are also         from about 4 m for small boats up to 23 m for the
larger vessels known for long-distance operations.       large ocean-going vessels. For combined big freezer
For instance in the 1980s big freezer trawlers with      trawlers (see above) the parachute has a diameter
up to 3000 GT carried out a mixed fishery daily with      of c. 40 m and the area of the mizzen sail is >70 m2.
trawls and at night with up to 20 jigging machines       With such aids, jigging is possible up to wind forces
and 35 halogen gas lights (each 4.4 kW).This jigging     of 5 to 6 Bft., in other case only up to 4 Bft.
                                                 Pole-hooks and Rippers                                               179

Figure 12.35 Japanese squid fishers in the harbour of Hakodate (1972).

References                                                      Dumont, H. & Sundstrom, G.T. (1961) Commercial
Augur, C.H. (1894) Fishnets. Bulletin of the US Fisheries         fishing gear of the United States. Fish and Wildlife Cir-
  Commission No. 13.                                              cular No. 109.
Ben-Yami, M. (1976) Fishing with Light. Fishing News            Henking, H. (1929) Die Ostseefischerei. Handbuch der
  Books, Farnham.                                                 Seefischerei Nordeuropas V. Stuttgart.
Blache, J. & Miton, F. (1962) Première Contribution à           Janko, J. (1900) Herkunft der Magyarischen Fischerei.
  la Connaissance de la Pêche dans le Bassin Hydro-               Budapest/Leipzig.
  graphique Logone-Chari Lac Tchad. ORSTOM, Paris.              Jenkins, J. G. (1974) Nets and Coracles. Newton Abbot.
von Brandt, A. (1960) Bemerkenswerte Fangmethoden               Juynboll, H.H. (1914) Java, Katalog des Ethnographischen
  und Geräte in der griechischen Fischerei. Protokolle            Reichsmuseums IX. Leiden.
  zur Fischereitechnik 6, 327–365.                              Kasuga & Osaka, L. (eds) (1975) Catálogo de Artes y
von Brandt, A. (1969) Störfischerei an der türkischen              Métodos de Pesca Artesanales de la República Popular
  Schwarzmeerküste. Protokolle zur Fischereitechnik 11,           China. Instituto Nacional de Pesca, México [in Spanish].
  353–384.                                                      Kishinouge, K. (1941) Prehistoric fishing in Japan. Journal
Burdon, T.W. (1954) The fishing methods of Singapore.              of the College of Agriculture Imperial University Tokyo
  Journal of the Malayan British Royal Asiatic Society 22         II, 327–382.
  (2), 5–76.                                                    Lane, F.W. (1960) Kingdom of the Octopus. New York.
Chen, T.P. (1976) Aquaculture Practices in Taiwan.              Mäki, T.V. & Pitkänen, H. (1969) Kalastajan tietokirja
  Farnham.                                                        [Fishermen’s encyclopedia]. Helsinki [in Finnish].
Davis, F.M. (1958) An account of fishing gear of England         Marshall, W. (1904) Die Erforschung des Meeres. In:
  and Wales. Fishery Investigations, Ser. II, Vol. 21, No. 8.     Weltall und Menschheit Vol. IV (ed. H. Kramer),
Doogue, R. (1974) Hook, Line and Sinker. Wellington.              245–382.
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Mengi, T. (1968) Türkiyéde mersin baligi yakalama âlet-       de Thiersant, P.D. (1872) Le Pisciculture et la Pêche en
  leri (1). Balik ve Balikçilik 16 (10), 1–10 [in Turkish].     Chine. Paris.
Nikolski, G.H. (1957) Spezielle Fischkunde. Berlin.           Trench, C.C. (1974) A History of Angling. London.
NN (1951) [Fishing gear of the Caspian Sea.] (ed.)            Welcomme, R.L. (1970) Les moyens de pêche dans les
  Ministry of Fisheries, Moscow [in Russian].                   eaux continentales du Dahomey. Études Dahoméennes
NN (1959–65) Illustrations of Japanese Fishing Boats and        NS No. 17, 5–35.
  Fishing Gear. Tokyo.                                        Welcomme, R.L. (1979) Fisheries Ecology of Floodplain
Ormstad, O. & Rom, K. (1972) Isfiske. Oslo [in                   Rivers. London.
  Norwegian].                                                 Went, A.E.J. (1964) The pursuit of salmon in Ireland. Pro-
Pennington, F. (1979) The Japanese have many ways to            ceedings of the Royal Irish Academy 63, Sect. C., No. 6,
  catch the giant octopus. Fishing News International 18        191–244.
  (11) 56–57.                                                 Wiebalk, R. (1917) Von den Rechten der Wurster im
de Rohan-Csermak, G. (1963) Sturgeon Hooks of                   Wattenmeer. Männer im Morgenstern XVIII, 108–
  Eurasia. Chicago.                                             115.
Schäfer, B. & Czyborra, H. (1985) Angelfischerei               Yajima, S. & Mitsugi, S. (1976) Japanese squid jigging
  auf Kalmar in der Hochseefischerei der DDR.                    gear. FAO Fisheries Report No. 170 (Suppl. 1), 85–88.
  Seewirtschaft Berlin 17 (7), 338–342.                         Rome.
Seligo, A. (1925) Die Fischerei in den Fliessen, Seen und     Yamashita, Y. (1976) The Octopus Fishery of Hokkaido.
  Strandgewässern Mitteleuropas. Stuttgart.                     FAO Fisheries Report No. 170, Suppl. 1, 142–147.
Seréne, M.M.R., Nguyen-Chan & Nyuyen-Trong-Hien                 Rome.
  (1956) Ètudes sur les techniques des pêches au Viet-
  Nam. In: Hai Hoc Vien No. 13. Natrang.
 Net Material and the Art of Net-making

To be typical of a fisherman’s village, any picture or            symbol of fishing is not a net but a fishing spear,
any photograph must show fishing nets hanging out                 namely the trident of Neptune or Poseidon. This
or spread out for drying. In our conception, nets                trident is nothing but the ancient tuna spear of the
and fishing must go together. But this has not                    Mediterranean. Thus the spear, not the net, was
always been the case. On the contrary; compared                  considered by the Greeks and Romans as repre-
with the age of fishing, the net is a recent invention,           sentative of fishing gear. It was so important that it
although it may still be some thousands of years                 became the symbol of the Sea God. Even today
old. Like other primary textile techniques such as               nations are known that have a high cultural stan-
plaiting and weaving, the art of net-making dates                dard, where net fishing plays a secondary part as
back at least to the Mesolithic, i.e. the end of                 compared with other fishing methods. Moreover,
the period of gatherers and hunters. This again                  the relatively late introduction of the net into
presumes that people had learned how to obtain                   fishing is also indicated by the fact that in the myths
net-making material – whether it came from plant                 and tales of the nations living around the northern
fibres, bast, leather strips, silk threads or animal hair         seas as well as of those living on the coasts of the
– to eventually be spun and twisted. It also had to              Pacific and Indian Oceans, gods and heroes are
be available in adequate quantities. Certainly this              described as teaching men how to make nets. The
must have been difficult in the beginning, so the                 knotting of nets is a particular art, like boat-
first handmade nets would almost certainly have                   building and the forging of swords. The myths
been only very small ones. The large sheets of net               reveal that the art was not known to all men when
required today by some large-scale fisheries for                  they (the myths) came into existence, but that the
bulk fishing have become possible only through the                knowledge of how to make nets had to be learned
success achieved in making nets on machines, but                 by each apprentice fisherman. Previously it was
this did not happen until the second part of the 19th            praised in myths and tales as being a special skill
century. Up to that time, every bit of netting had to            taught to humans by superior powers. But it has to
be made by hand, and fishermen spent much time                    be admitted that in highly developed industrial fish-
in producing raw material for net making; then they              eries this knowledge is decreasing and that on a
had to process it themselves by spinning and twist-              highly sophisticated trawler today there may be
ing before they could make the netting. In many                  only a few people with experience of how to make
parts of the world this is necessary even today.                 and mend netting.
Therefore, the fishing net is a relatively recent                    There are many terms used in literature for the
invention among the many types of fishing gear                    meshed webbing used by fishermen to construct
known today.                                                     fishing gear. According to a decision of the Inter-
   Many signs indicate that, with some nations, the              national Organization for Standardization (ISO) in
net was introduced in hunting before it was used for             Geneva, Switzerland, the official term should be
fishing. How young the invention of the net is may                ‘netting’ (ISO 1974). A netting is a meshed struc-
also be demonstrated by the fact that in Europe the              ture of indefinite shape and size, which is the raw

182                                 Fish Catching Methods of the World

                                                        making is now widely known and taught. Now the
                                                        machine-made net can be delivered without trouble
                                                        to even the most remote islands and frequently
                                                        replaces the home-made article, just as machine-
                                                        made fishing hooks are displacing hand-made
                                                        hooks in all parts of the world.

                                                        13.1 Stone walls, fences and netting
                                                        As in hunting, the original problem which led to the
                                                        making of nets was to prevent fish from getting
                                                        away in the water and to filter them or extract them
                                                        from the water. For that purpose, fishery does not
                                                        require textile netting in the modern sense. Stop-
                                                        ping or barring the way of the fish in a bay or bight,
Figure 13.1 Section of a ‘net’ made by a caddis larva   or in running water, can also be done by earth and
of the genus Hydropsyche. (From Sattler 1958 with       stone dams (Figures 15.4 and 13.2). As will be
permission.)                                            shown in Chapter 15, stone walls are known in
                                                        many parts of the world. Mostly they are used in
material for the construction of many types of          tidal or flood areas to retain fish during ebb tides.
fishing gear, especially for fishing nets, but also for   In this case the walls are permanent barriers. But
some gear used by hunters and bird catchers. There      they can also be erected during fishing, as the Ocea-
is no limitation either of the material from which      nians do (Koch 1965). Fish encircled in shallow
the netting has been made, or of the size or shape      water by many people, sometimes > 100, can be
of the single meshes from which the netting is com-     enclosed by a quickly-made wall of coral stones so
posed. Here it must be remembered that nets have        that their chances of escape are negligible, and they
not been invented only by humans. Long before the       are caught (Burdon 1951). Stone walls can also be
gods taught humans how to make nets, animals            built in complicated labyrinths as the aborigines of
used nets for their own purposes.We all know about      Australia have done (Roughley 1968). Therefore, it
spider webs, but the wheel-shaped nets of a certain     may be right to consider stone walls as ‘living fossils
spider family are not the only nets that exist in       of the oldest fishing gear’ (Nishimura 1968). Stone
nature. Devices used for obtaining food, which may      walls have been replaced later in many areas by
be called nets, are also manufactured by many other     light transportable fish fences made of twigs, reeds,
animals. Some species of aquatic animals produce        bamboo, etc. (von Brandt 1957). These may be
such catching equipment in order to harvest plank-      either simple fences or mats (Figures 15.8 and 13.3),
ton. The net made by the larvae of the caddis fly        or ingeniously plaited work in, for instance, the
(Hydropsyche) (Figure 13.1) is of a particularly        hexagonal technique used today for making
regular pattern. Construction and use of these          baskets, especially of split bamboo and similar
catching devices, which were developed by nature        material (Figure 13.4).
long before humans invented them, correspond to            Just as the coarse stone dams have been replaced
our stow nets (Figure 24.38).                           by plaited fences which are manufactured more
   Certainly humans did not learn how to make nets      easily, handled more simply and operated more effi-
for hunting and fishing from any natural models.         ciently, these again are being replaced by net fabrics
Man’s technology of netting is quite different, and     made of various fibre-like materials, especially from
has changed greatly and become perfect only by          plants, more rarely of animal origin. This develop-
repeated trial and error over a long period of          ment is still going on. But in spite of this trend, in
time. Many fishing populations even today have not       many fisheries where sufficient material for plaited
gained the knowledge of how to make nets for            gear is available (wood, bamboo, rattan, etc.), and
themselves. In our time, however, new independent       where wages are low, there is still a preference for
invention is no longer necessary because net-           stable wooden gear instead of netting. Moreover,
                                  Net Material and the Art of Net-making                                      183

Figure 13.2 Stone dams built off the coast of Guinea to retain fish as the tide falls. (From Sahrhage 1961 with

Figure 13.3 Transportable fish fences used in a
Philippine fish pond (1960).                              Figure 13.4 Hexagonal       technique   used   for   the
                                                         construction of fish pots.

textile nets made of natural fibres require much
care and maintenance, unless very cheap materials        can be left in place until they have rotted, before
such as grass or straw have been used. The Japan-        being replaced by new ones. Natural fibres as net
ese make traps from rice straw, and this material is     materials have been used for centuries – possibly
used for bigger forms such as leading netting. The       for thousands of years. In modern times, however,
Sicilian fisheries use special types of esparto grass     they too are being replaced by the better synthetic
for their tuna traps, which are so cheap that they       fibres. These synthetic fibres are known under
184                                  Fish Catching Methods of the World

different trade names and include the following
chemical groups: polyamides (PA), polyesters
(PES), polyethylenes (PE), polyvinylchlorides
(PVC), polyvinyl alcohols (PVA) and others (Klust
1982). PA has lost its predominant role in fishing
since new technologies for producing the polyole-
fines became available. The substituting gel-melted
                                                         Figure 13.5 A primitive form of net-making achieved by
fibres (e.g. Dynema) show a much higher strength,         hanging bast twines on each other.
though their low elasticity is not always advanta-
geous. The synthetic fibres have many advantages
which allow the manufacture of more effective
fishing gear. Among the most useful properties are        1974). The size and shape of the meshes regulates
high resistance to rotting, the high breaking            the sizes of those fish to be prevented from passing
strength and favourable tenacity, low visibility in      through and determines whether the fish shall be
water, and low water resistance. Moreover, some of       caught by mechanical filtering or by sticking in the
these properties can be varied according to the          meshes according to the circumference of their
needs of the different fishing methods. Thus, for         bodies, as shown for gillnets in Chapter 19. It is,
example, flexibility of gillnet twines has been           therefore, understandable that starting from very
increased by replacing the single monofil twine by        early times, the consistency of size and shape of the
some softly twisted monofils of smaller diameter          meshes has been considered essential.
but with the same resultant strength (Multi-mono).          How such meshes of equal size and constant
This can also be achieved by mixing different types      shape can be obtained depends on the material
of synthetic fibres in one netting yarn. Synthetic        used. As long as the material was rigid and rough
fibres offer fishery possibilities that may not yet be     this was relatively simple. Figure 13.5 shows a primi-
fully used. Unfortunately, the synthetic fibres can be    tive form of netting made by using bast twines and
too expensive for non-industrial countries. In their     simply hanging each mesh on one in the previous
case, there is no neutral control of the properties of   row. Such ‘knotless’ meshes remained constant only
netting materials, and no training of fishermen in        as long as the net was firmly stretched in a frame or
how to decide which material may be the best one         fastened over a rack, like the old baskets made of
for their purposes. Moreover, to the practical, but      lime tree bast used in the north European fishery.
not instructed, fisherman, inferior netting material         Knotting was not necessary. The netting was kept
may be offered, which by its low-class properties        together by its own roughness. A more permanent
can hamper the use of any synthetic fibres. Origi-        form of netting is obtained by twisting the bars of
nally, high prices for netting yarn made of synthetic    the meshes with each other, once or several times, at
fibres in comparison with those made of cotton or         the joining points (Figure 13.6). On display in Scan-
local fibres hindered a worldwide introduction of         dinavian museums are relics of such twisted meshes
netting materials of new synthetic fibres. Decreas-       made from lime tree bast that were originally found
ing prices and increasing knowledge of how to use        in Danish moors or fens, as well as some from old
the new materials in the best way led to wider use       fish traps – and these last were even used until
of this material, but there is still some uncertainty    modern times. Compared with simple hanging (as in
about the development of pricing in the future. This     Figure 13.5), the twisting of the bars to form net
may prevent the use of the best synthetic fibres          meshes (as in Figure 13.6) represented a significant
available, in all fisheries, as wanted.                   development. As long as only rough materials were
                                                         used for manufacturing these netlike forms, the
                                                         technique of simple or multiple twisting as
13.2 Primitive knotless netting                          described was sufficient. This method is used even
The basic design of textile netting is a mesh, usually   today when the netting is held stretched in a frame,
of rhombic or square shape. According to a               such as that made to cover or close the openings of
standard definition, a mesh is a ‘designedly formed       baskets used by the fishermen of Malta (von Brandt
opening, surrounded by netting materials’ (ISO           1966) (Figure 13.7) or of the Canary Islands. This
                                     Net Material and the Art of Net-making                                         185

Figure 13.6 Simple knotless netting with low stability of the mesh size made by single or double twisting of the netting
yarn at the joining points.

Figure 13.7 Cover for the top opening of a wooden
beehive-basket in Malta. The cover is made by a simple
twisting technique.
                                                              Figure 13.8 Australian rock lobster pot made of wood
                                                              and wire in Tasmania. The mesh of the base is of very
                                                              stiff wire and is therefore made by simple twisting,
method of building a mesh can even be helpful
                                                              without knotting.
today with netting made of wire, as used for traps,
dredges and also liftnets. The single twisting of the
wire is sufficient to give the mesh some stability and         were created. Humans learned how to obtain the
consistent size, as can be seen from the beehive              fibres from various wild or cultivated plants and to
rock-lobster pot of Tasmania, the bottom of which is          spin and twist them into netting yarns. As men-
made of stiff wire which cannot be formed into a              tioned before, as long as this yarn was rough it was
mesh in any other manner (Figure 13.8).                       not so difficult to get consistent meshes for netting.
                                                              When the netting yarns became finer and smoother,
                                                              twisting of these yarns at the joining points alone
13.3 Knotted netting                                          was no longer sufficient to get constant and fixed-
As soon as humans became settled, and agriculture             size meshes. The method of net-making had to be
was beginning, the conditions for cultivating fibre            improved by replacing the hanging technique by
plants such as linen, hemp, ramie, and many others            knotting the netting yarns at the previous mesh row
186                                Fish Catching Methods of the World

                                                       Figure 13.10 Netting made with the help of a kind of
Figure 13.9 Net-making technique used by lake-         ‘failed’ reef knot, also called the ‘cow hitch’.
dwelling fishermen in Switzerland.

(Figure 13.9). As that technique was first found in
relics of nets discovered near the lake dwellings on
the shores of Lake Constance, the knot – maybe the
first used in net-making – was called the ‘lake
dweller knot’. This technique of manufacturing
fishing nets, however, is far more widespread than
has ever been supposed.The ancient African fishery
in the area of the Zaire River, as well as the fish-    Figure 13.11 Netting made with the well-known reef
eries of Oceania and the Peruvian coast of South       knot.
America (von Brandt 1970), knew how to manu-
facture meshes in that same ‘lake-dwelling’ tech-
nique. With this method of net-making, a ‘knotted’     with meshes that retained their uniform shape. The
netting is produced, not a ‘knotless’ one. The knot    development of the technique of net-making thus
does not slide, and the mesh remains constant, espe-   runs parallel to the development of manufacturing
cially when the netting yarn is not too smooth, but    yarns and twine. The technique of net-making using
this method was no longer sufficient when the           knots is of great importance today in the manufac-
material became finer and smoother. The knot            ture of nets using the reef knot (Figure 13.11), which
could be moved to and fro on the smooth loops of       is widely distributed in the Asiatic fishery. This is
the previous row of meshes, which meant the mesh       identical with the knotting on Figure 13.10, but the
did not remain of a constant size. This unwanted       thread in the knot is placed a little differently so that
slipping also applies to the method of knotting,       the slings on the preceding rows of meshes are actu-
often known as the cow hitch (Figure 13.10), which     ally included in the knot. In this way, relatively con-
can be considered as a loose form of the following     stant meshes are obtained, which are often sufficient
knot. This cow hitch, too, remains fixed only as long   for their purpose and are typical of the Asiatic
as the net material is rough. Nets manufactured in     fishery. In the old fishery literature, this type of knot
this way are known from the ancient African            is very often called the ‘Chinese knot’. But, accord-
fishery. But nets from Peru have also been found to     ing to Japanese statistics, this method of making nets
have been made in this way, and these date from        is steadily diminishing from year to year.The reason
times before Columbus. Because this knot is very       for this is that this knotting technique is no longer
often found in excavations in Peru, it has been        sufficient for manufacturing nets from synthetic
named the ‘Peruvian knot’.                             fibres. The use of synthetic fibres is steadily gaining
   As the material from which netting was manufac-     ground; in particular, in the form of twines of silk-
tured became better, i.e. as twines became smoother    like continuous fibres which call for non-sliding
and more uniform, the less the meshes remained         knots, and is the reason why the so-called ‘weaver
constant. The knots were found to slide, the meshes    knot’ has become increasingly popular. The manu-
became distorted, and serious efforts were needed      facture of nets with the weaver knot (Figure 13.12)
to find new methods of knotting to produce netting      has been known in the fishery of north-west Europe
                                  Net Material and the Art of Net-making                                 187

Figure 13.12 Weaver knots are used for making this

from very early times. Nets from the Stone Age, pos-
sibly 4000–5000 years of age, found in a moor in
Finland c. 70 years ago (Sirelius 1934) and recently
in a moor in Schleswig-Holstein, show the weaver
knot (von Brandt 1970). It may, therefore, be sup-
posed that the weaver knot for making nets was
developed in the ancient North Atlantic fishing         Figure 13.13 Main types of net needles: (a) filet type;
area, including the native fishery of North America     (b) tongue type; (c) Icelandic type; (d) Mediterranean
even before the time of Columbus. There, too, the      filet type.
weaver knot was known, and it is hard to believe
that such a complex knot can have been invented
twice and that no connection existed between the       Kaulin 1997), and fishermen know techniques for
use of weaver knots in northern Europe and North       hand knotting without auxiliary tools, as well as
America.                                               with different types of needles (Figure 13.13) and
   Nowadays the weaver knot is the most widely         mesh sticks. Most of the knotted netting can be
distributed type of knot for making nets in the        made by machines, and machines can also make
European and American fisheries, and most of the        knotless netting.
modern, fully automatic net-making machinery,
no matter whether it is built in Asia, Europe or
America, is making netting with this knot. Com-
                                                       13.4 Modern knotless netting
pared with them, net-making machines which use         As has been mentioned above, ancient people did
reef knots play only a local and secondary part, and   know knotless netting. There are other more com-
are restricted to East and South Asia. But even the    plicated types. Even in modern fisheries, as with
weaver type of knotting is often insufficient for the   Canadian shellfish dredges, very simple knotless
very smooth modern net twines made of continu-         netting may be used. Here the meshes are formed
ous synthetic fibres. So the single weaver knot is      by joining the netting twines with cramp irons
being replaced by double knots of various types        (Figure 13.14). But modern fishery knows and uses
or, where their mechanical manufacture is too          much more complicated machine-made knotless
expensive, the single knots are fixed by thermal and    netting. Since the beginning of the 1950s, modern
chemical treatment of the netting.                     knotless netting has been used in many fisheries. It
   Mentioned here are only some of the more            is made either according to the Japanese technique,
important types of net-making. Fisheries, especially   together with twisting the netting yarns (Figure
the traditional ones, know many more techniques        13.15a), or after the Raschel technique developed
for making netting, both woven and knitted. An         in north-west Europe (Figure 13.15b). Both tech-
example can be seen in Figure 24.10. Moreover,         niques can be realized only by machines. About 40
there are different techniques for achieving the       years ago a third method was developed in the
same joining types for meshes (von Brandt 1957;        former German Democratic Republic. In this case
188                                  Fish Catching Methods of the World

the meshes are formed by plaited, not twisted,           knotted one. Of particular value to its application
netting yarns (Figure 13.15c). There is one single       in more selective towed gear is that the joining
producer of the material now in the world, in the        points of knotless netting do not move as is the case
USA, working under licence of a Japanese firm.            in knotted netting when used in square mesh con-
   Knotless netting has the advantages of lower          figuration.
water resistance and lower weight. This depends on          Moreover, it has been found that knotless netting
the method of manufacture. Weight of the netting,        made according to the Raschel system can have, by
breaking strength of a single mesh, and diameter of      virtue of its longer ‘joining points’, meshes with a
the bars are decisive for judging the value of knot-     hexagonal opening (Figure 13.16). This seems to
less netting. But there are some properties more of      provide a better flow of water through the netting
interest for specific fisheries, such as that knotless     and therefore brings better catches (Olsen &
netting in a specific orientation is less bulky than a    Beltestad 1980). The selectivity of hexagonal

Figure 13.14 Netting made with clips as used for Cana-   Figure 13.16 Knotless netting (Raschel technique) with
dian shellfish dredges.                                   rhombic or hexagonal mesh opening.

Figure 13.15 Main types of knotless netting (machine made): (a) Japanese twisting technique; (b) Raschel tech-
nique; (c) double braiding or Reichel technique as used in Germany.
                                  Net Material and the Art of Net-making                                     189

netting, however, has to be seriously put in doubt,     be heard predicting an early end to the use of
this being the main reason why the European Com-        fishing gear made of netting and claiming that it
mission has prohibited the use of other than            will be replaced by methods such as electrical
diamond and square meshes (Article 9, EU-regula-        fishing (Chapter 5), or by harvesting machines
tion 850/98). A disadvantage of knotless netting        (Chapter 30). But very often electrical fishing is a
with large meshes is that it can be more expensive      fishery with electrified fishing gear made of netting
than netting of the same mesh size made by knot-        and also some of the envisaged harvesting
ting. Also, since the appearance of synthetic fibres,    machines will still need netting, even if it is only for
the idea has grown that it might be better not to       scoop nets.
knot the nets, but to weld or to stick them together,
or even to mould them as ready-made sheets. If the
sticking of threads for making nets developed, we
would once again have reached the techniques used
by spiders or the larvae of caddis flies for making      von Brandt, A. (1957) Fischnetzknoten. Berlin.
                                                        von Brandt, A. (1966) Die Fischerei der Maltesischen
their nets.                                               Inseln. Protokolle zur Fischereitechnik 10, 166–212.
   The foregoing descriptions demonstrate how           von Brandt, A. (1970) Vor- und frühgeschichtliches
intricate the history of net-making is and how it has     Netzwerk. Protokolle zur Fischereitechnik 12, 107–128.
never come to a standstill. The very beginning of       Burdon, T.W. (1951) A consideration of the classification
the technique can only be imagined. Owing to the          of fishing gear and methods. In: Proceedings of the
                                                          Indo-Pacific Fisheries Council, Sect. II/21, Madras.
poor keeping qualities of all textiles made of          ISO: International Standard 1107 (1974) Fishing nets –
natural fibres, remnants of nets from remote times         netting: basic terms and definitions. Geneva.
have very rarely been preserved up to the present       Kaulin, M. (1997) Netze knüpfen und schneiden.
time. There may have been various origins. But,           Blackwell, Berlin, 189 pp.
whatever the origins were, all the efforts down the     Klust, G. (1982) Netting Materials for Fishing Gear. FAO
                                                          Fishing Manuals. Farnham.
ages have led steadily to great and intensive devel-    Koch, G. (1965) Materielle Kultur der Gilbert-Inseln.
opment, which is now being accelerated more than          Veroeffentlichungen des Museums für Völkerkunde
ever by the invention and increasing availability of      Berlin NF 6. Berlin.
synthetic fibres. Stone dams and fish fences were         Nishimura, A. (1968) Living fossils of oldest fishing gear
created at a very early stage. They were replaced by      in Japan. VIIIth International Congress of Anthropo-
                                                          logical and Ethnological Sciences. Tokyo and Kyoto.
woven fences or knotless nets manufactured by           Olsen, S. & Beltestad, A.K. (1980) Russian hexagon mesh
simply hanging the threads of one mesh on another.        is proved in Norway. World Fish. 29 (2), 47–50.
These in turn were displaced by knotting net fabric.    Roughley, T.C. (1968) Fish and Fisheries of Australia.
The lake-dwellers’ knot was invented and survived         Sydney.
                                                        Sahrhage, D. (1961) Die Seefischerei in der Republik
in Africa until modern times. The reef knot was
                                                          Guinea und einige Möglichkeiten zu ihrer Inten-
adopted by the Asiatic fisheries and developed for         sivierung. Archiv fuer Fischereiwissenschaft 12, 38–74.
making nets, even mechanically. The northern fish-       Sattler, W. (1958) Beiträge zur Kenntnis von Lebensweise
eries invented the weaver knot, which displaced           und Körperbau der Larve und Puppe von Hydropsyche
the other two knots. With synthetic fibres now             mit besonderer Berücksichtigung des Netzbaues.
                                                          Zeitschrift fuer Morphologie und Ökologie Tiere 47,
available, the knotless technique has been revived        115–192.
because it has certain advantages for some fishing       Sirelius, U.T. (1934) Jagd und Fischerei in Finnland. In:
techniques. But meddlesome voices are already to          Die Volkskultur Finnlands, Vol. 1. Berlin.
               Natural and Artificial Shelters

In discussing the methods of attracting and
concentrating fish in Chapter 11, it is stated that in
                                                                14.1 Bundles of brushwood
contrast to pelagic fish, some bottom fish and crus-              A simple method of manufacturing alluring hiding
taceans have a positive thigmotaxis. This behaviour             places is to submerge bundles of twigs or branches
has been used in fishing by offering suitable hiding             of trees in suitable waters. In general, the branches
places. Such safe places can be found in nature                 are packed flat at the bottom. Stakes keep the
under floating vegetation, between stones or water               branches on the required spot. In Lake Constance
plants, especially below the branches and roots of              and some other Swiss lakes, some such brushwood
trees or bushes in flooded areas, or by the banks of             places are said to date back to the times of the lake
natural waters. Humans soon found that such                     dwellers (Figure 14.1). Such untouched brushwood
places are attractive to fish and crustaceans in                 structures could be popular places for snare
search of food and refuge. This knowledge has been              and line fishing, and also for fishing with gillnets
used for the installation of artificial ‘fish parks’,             (Klunzinger 1892) and other gear. Recently two
made either by planting vegetation or by placing                steel frames were sent to the bottom, filled with
branches in shallow water to attract fish. This has              brushwood such as old Christmas trees, and used as
been done in African inland fisheries, and in                    brushwood trap in the upper Lake Constance (pers.
West African coastal lagoons, like those of                     comm. 2000). At intervals these heaps are shaken
Dahomey (Benin), Cameroon, Nigeria and others.                  or slightly lifted after the site has been encircled by
In these areas the so-called ‘acadja’ is known. This            gillnets or traps to catch the fish when they endeav-
is a park formed of a dense mass of branches arti-              our to escape. Sometimes the brushwood may be
ficially planted vertically in the muddy bottom to               completely removed from the water and the fish
attract fish. These branches are removed after                   shaken out.
various periods of time and the fish are caught by                  Floating plants, floating branches, or leaves
cast nets (Chapter 22), surrounding nets (Chapter               thrown onto the surface of an area of water can also
29), or by other arrangements if the fish try to jump            be shelters for concentrations of fish. These floats
out over the encircling netting (Figure 17.16)                  are fished in a similar way to lure lines, as men-
(Hornell 1950; Welcomme 1970, 1971, 1972, 1979).                tioned in Chapter 11. This more or less indirect
To increase the attraction of these installations,              fishery with brushwood is one of those fishing tech-
regular feeding of the fish can familiarize them with            niques common all over the world. It might have
the place. After some time, the area can be sur-                originated from the very beginning of the practice
rounded with fences or netting, the plants or                   of catching animals, for the method is known to
branches can be removed, and the enclosed fish                   have been used in all parts of Europe (Thienemann
caught by different methods. Artificial shelters also            1951), as well as in Asia and Africa. Even the old
include all kinds of artificial reefs (see last section)         Indian fisheries of North America knew and used
such as wrecks, offshore plants, heaps of stones or             this brushwood method (Rostlund 1952), but there
tubes, etc.                                                     it was used especially in the creation of artificial

                                       Natural and Artificial Shelters                                     191

Figure 14.1 Structure for a submerged brushwood trap
in Lake Constance.

                                                        Figure 14.2 Chinese brush fishery. (From de Thiersant
                                                        1872 with permission.)

spawning places for herring, so that afterwards the     sometimes weighted, were submerged at suitable
fish eggs could be harvested for food. Even today        places for a long time.When the time came for them
these spawning places for herring are well known        to be carefully lifted, this was done quickly by
off the Pacific coast of Alaska.                         keeping a scoop net under the brushwood, or the
  Artificial spawning places to get fish spawn, and       whole bundle was thrown into the boat before the
maybe also spawning animals, are also known in the      fish or crustaceans hiding in it could escape. Burbot,
fishery for cephalopods. As already mentioned with       and possibly lampreys, as well as eels can be caught
luring methods in the Mediterranean, twigs and          by this method. It is well known that these species
branches are set in order to attract spawning           of fish like to hide themselves. Because eels may
cuttlefish. When enough animals are concentrated,        sometimes be found in the clothes of drowned
fishing is carried out by raising the whole bundle of    people, it was said that the eels fed on corpses, but
branches, and netting the cuttlefish swimming            actually the eels were using the clothes of such
under and around them. The Japanese, on the coast       people as handy hiding places.
of Kyushu, tie branches to the centre of woven             The use of long rows of brush traps, especially for
bamboo baskets, and many such baskets are fixed          catching crabs and small fish, is very widespread
with branch lines some distance from a main line        in Asiatic fisheries (de Thiersant 1872; NN 1907,
according to the longline system (NN 1959–65). The      1959–65; van Nhiem 1956; Hickling 1961). The old
baskets are submerged for some days. To retrieve        Chinese fishery (Figure 14.2) used the method, just
the catch, the baskets are hauled up and replaced       as the Japanese did in the 20th century (Figures 14.3
again. This is something like a direct fishing method    and 14.4). It is also carried out in the Philippines
with brushwood. It is even more so when smaller         (Figure 14.5), as well as in the fisheries of
bundles of brushwood are used in the form of            Indo-China (Burma, Thailand, Vietnam and
brush traps. Several of these bundles are tied          Kampuchea). In Indonesia, brushwood is used on
together, also according to a longline system, as       the large lakes of Sumatra, and the method is also
explained previously (Figures 14.2–14.5). Formerly      known on Lake Albert in Africa as well as on the
this method was also used in Europe (Klunzinger         lakes of Madagascar.
1892). As eels like to hide in such bundles, they are      Another practice in central Africa is to submerge
called eel tufts in Germany (Walter 1910; Rassow        boxes full of leaves. When small fish seek shelter
1958). These brush traps, now prohibited for this       in them, the boxes are lifted from the water. In
purpose, were made of branches of alder trees or        Louisiana, on the Gulf of Mexico, brush traps are
beech trees, or of willow twigs c. 1 m long tied        used for catching soft or shedder crabs. On the
together like brooms (Seligo 1925). These bundles,      Ivory Coast, leaves of coconut trees are put in
192                                 Fish Catching Methods of the World

Figure 14.3 Japanese lines with brush traps showing up during low tide.

shallow water to attract shrimps. Every 2 or 3 days
the leaves are towed slowly to the shore. A fisher-        14.2 Tubes for shelter
man then follows with a scoop net to catch escap-         Because the positive thigmotaxis of the eel is so
ing shrimps and small fish. It seems that the use          pronounced, it is used in a special way. When kept
of brush bundles to provide shelter for fish and           in aquaria the animals like to creep either singly or
crustaceans is a very old and widespread fishing           with several others into tubes if they are available.
technique.                                                This behaviour permits another fishing method to
   It is not only brushes and twigs that are used as      be carried out, not only for eels but also for some
artificial hiding places. In Oceania, smoked sheep-        other fish. The method involves attaching to long-
skins are laid in the water to attract fish; sometimes     lines, groups of one, two or three short bamboo
this shelter is even baited. As with brush traps, the     reeds and submerging them in the same way that
skin is quickly lifted, and a scoop net put under         bundles of brush traps are used (Figure 14.6). The
it to secure the fish (Koch 1965). In the North            eels like to hide in these bamboo tubes. Sometimes
Friesian and Dutch fisheries, holes were made in           the tubes are even baited to make them especially
the ice in winter and trusses of straw are put into       attractive. Great care must be taken when lifting
them upright. This is a widely used way of provid-        the bamboo reeds to make sure that the eel does
ing air holes in the strong ice which, when it is         not slip out. It is also reported that divers some-
covered with thick snow, prevents the light from          times seal the reeds while they are under water
reaching the water plants that produce the essen-         before they lift them.
tial oxygen. Eels creep into the trusses and can thus        In European waters, there is no bamboo suitable
be caught – but, for this to be successful, the straw     for this fishing method, but hollow logs or iron
trusses (of which some two-thirds of their length         pipes are used in the same way for catching burbots.
are inserted into the water) must be lifted quickly       The stove-pipes are squeezed together at one end
from the hole.                                            to close them, leaving only a narrow slit. The other
                                        Natural and Artificial Shelters                                      193

Figure 14.4 Japanese fishery with brush traps. The brushwood is lifted out and shaken over a scoop net into which
the fish drop.

end of the pipe remains open. The pipes are then          sometimes they are also baited to increase their
fastened on a wire and dropped into the spawning          attractiveness (MacLaren 1958). Also known are
areas of the burbots.After some days, they are lifted     bowls of clay and other ‘unglazed earthenware
out with a quick jerk (Fischer 1959). The idea is         pots’, better known in the form of octopus pots (see
exactly the same as that of fishing for eels with          next section).
bamboo reeds. This fishing technique is also known            Tube-like devices are also used as shelters for
in Africa, Australia and other parts of the world. A      crustaceans. For catching crayfish in fresh waters,
special method for catching eel with the help of          old tin boxes are pressed together to give them a
artificial hiding places is known from the freshwater      more flattened form and fixed to a line. Some sand
fishery in Madagascar. In Lake Itasy, underwater           and stones are put into the boxes before they are
holes are dug out by divers to form hiding places         placed in the water just inside the reeds on the
for eels. The fish are then caught by spearing (von        shore.The box has to be placed in good contact with
Brandt 1964).                                             the bottom to be successful. The connection line
   Catfish and other fishes can also be caught with         (longline system) is secured and the boxes remain
tube traps. Because strong bamboo became less             in the same place until early next morning. Then
readily available in some tropical countries, plastic     they are hauled out carefully, but quickly, before the
pipes were used, as described from Taiwan (Chen           prey can escape. In the 1980s (Wilke 1980), artifi-
1976). Also, other hollow containers can be oper-         cial shelters for crayfish were recommended for use
ated as hiding places, even bottles and drums, and        in freshwater lakes. The shelters were made of
194                                   Fish Catching Methods of the World

Figure 14.5 Brush traps for shrimps in the Philippines.

Figure 14.6 Bamboo reeds and their handling. Japanese fishermen catch eels with these hollow reeds, which the
eels use for shelter.
                                           Natural and Artificial Shelters                                      195

plastic and concrete so that they formed colonies of         there is no difference, whether these pots are used
fabricated ‘caves’ attractive to crayfish and also to         in Japan, Korea, Italy, Malta or Hong Kong. The
eels.                                                        octopus likes to enter such shelters for protection
   In subsistence fisheries, plastic tubes are also           and also for spawning.
used as traps for coastal snails (Littorina littorea).          The animal usually hesitates to leave the pot
The tubes should be odourless and a neutral colour,          even when moved during hauling. The earthenware
1–2 m long and about 10 cm diameter. They are                octopus pots are set either singly or on the longline
placed among seaweeds and are secured with                   system with up to 100 pots strung on a line (Figure
stones (Sinsoilliez 1968).                                   14.8). The Italians fasten 24 or 30 pots at distances
                                                             of 5–6 m on a line. The pots can be so arranged that,
                                                             during hauling, the opening faces either up or
14.3 Octopus pots                                            down. In bright light, the octopus is able to rush
The discovery that octopi were frequently found              from its dwelling even at the last moment, so that
inside old amphorae and other containers on the              care is necessary in lifting them. Pots must drain
Mediterranean seabed soon stimulated humans                  adequately on the surface so that the fisherman
to make unglazed pots of clay specially for the              does not have to lift a large quantity of water with
purpose of catching these creatures. Such pots are,          the pot and the catch (Pennington 1979).
or have been, known by Mediterranean fishermen                   In some areas, shells of large snails or bivalves
from Italy and Malta, and maybe also from the                are used as hiding places for octopi as an alterna-
Iberian peninsula. Earthenware pots are used in              tive to earthenware pots. In Japan, Korea and south
east and south Asia much more than in the                    India, the origin of the octopus pots may be large
Mediterranean.                                               snail shells (Pteroceras lambis), which are natural
   They are said to have been known in the                   hiding places. The shells are arranged and set in the
Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico as well (Voss               same way as the pots. In the Palk Straits between
1973). The pots differ somewhat in size and shape;           India and Ceylon, large quantities of small octopus,
they have handles in Italy, but those used in Japan          which are especially appreciated, are caught by
are without (Figure 14.7). In principle, however,            fixing as many as 700–900 shells on a longline
                                                             system which is hauled in each morning (Hornell
                                                             1950). Shells have been used in Mexico. Five or
                                                             more empty shells of Strombus gigas are fixed on a
                                                             line and dragged slowly over the bottom. The shells
                                                             may be seized by the octopi which are then caught
                                                             when the shells are hauled aboard.
                                                                Working with shells, or even with breakable
                                                             ceramic pots, may no longer be practicable for large
                                                             fishing enterprises. So the old useful pots have been
                                                             replaced, especially in Hokkaido, by wooden boxes
                                                             (Figure 14.9), which have a better resistance to
                                                             rough handling and which can be repaired more
                                                             easily than earthenware pots or breakable shells
                                                             (Nédeléc 1975). Later plastic pots of vinyl chloride
                                                             also came into use (Yamashita 1976). Such plastic
                                                             pots for catching octopus are also used on the
                                                             North African coast (Figure 14.10). It may not be
Figure 14.7 An East Asian octopus pot without handles
and an Italian pot with handles. The Mediterranean           surprising that many other materials are used to
method of catching octopi in these pots is believed to       catch octopus, even cut tyres, cans and plastic pipes,
have started in very early times, when it was noticed that   as well as heavy trawl floats with entrances cut into
octopi used lost Grecian amphorae as refuges. Today          them, and other objects (Pennington 1979).
these pots are used either singly or strung together on         It is a characteristic of all the methods mentioned
lines. The same method has evolved in Asian waters.
                                                             that a hiding place is offered to the fish, crab,
196                                  Fish Catching Methods of the World

Figure 14.8 Octopus pots used for the longline system off the Algarve coast. (Photo: U. Richter 1996.)

Figure 14.9 Wooden octopus box from Hokkaido
(1972).                                                    Figure 14.10 Plastic octopus pots in Mauritania.
                                         Natural and Artificial Shelters                                         197

crayfish or octopus, which they accept voluntarily
and which they can leave again at any time, gener-
ally without difficulty. Even when the pot is hauled,
or just as it is being hauled, the animal can still
escape. Many efforts have therefore been made to
prevent the escape of those animals once they have
entered the hiding place (Figure 14.8). Then,
however, they can no longer be called hiding places
but have become genuine traps, which is the subject
of the next chapter.

14.4 Artificial reefs
Today this method of fish concentration is very
widely known and over the years international con-
gresses have taken place on this matter (NN 1999).
This technique is used especially off the sea coast
of Japan and the USA. It was reported in the 1960s
that, around Japan, 1 million m2 of sea bottom are
covered with artificial structures to attract fish. It is
hoped that these will help inshore fishermen
acquire fishing places to replace those lost else-
where. Artificial reefs can consist of simple heaps of
stones, possibly covered with a straw mat to lure the
fish inside. Japanese fishermen submerge concrete
blocks for fish shelters. These may be reinforced
or not, and are called ‘fish apartment houses’ or          Figure 14.11 Artificial reef with underwater camera and
‘fish habitats’. At least 50 blocks are required to        transmitter mast used for behaviour studies.
obtain satisfactory results (NN 1959–65; Parker et
al. 1979). Old motor cars and wrecked vessels like
the old ‘liberty ships’ have also been used in differ-
ent parts of the world as artificial reefs (Ditton et      oped for a German artificial reef in the Baltic Sea
al. 1979). This is especially interesting in formerly     (Figure 14.11, Niedzwiedz 1999).
unproductive places, which are now becoming suit-
able for sport fisheries and commercial exploitation
(Carlisle et al. 1964). In this way, fish, crustaceans
and other aquatic animals can be attracted and later      von Brandt, A. (1964) Madagaskar, fischereiliche
                                                            Reisenotizen. Protokolle zur Fischereitechnik IX (41),
caught, especially with lines and gillnets. In com-
mercial fisheries it is well known that wrecks can be      Carlisle, J.G., Turner, C.H. & Ebert, E.E. (1964) Artificial
good fishing places, and Danish fishermen have                habitat in the marine environment. Fisheries Bulletin
developed a special wreck fishery with gillnets (see         124, California.
Chapter 19). There have been some discussions on          Chen, T.P. (1976) Aquaculture Practices in Taiwan.
whether or not artificial reefs are more successful        Ditton, R.B. et al. (1979) Access to and usage of offshore
in concentrating fish in clear waters than in turbid         Liberty ship reefs in Texas. Marine Fisheries Review 41
waters (Mohr 1976). Artificial reefs are also very           (9), 25–31.
suitable places for on-line behaviour observations        Fischer, J.E. (1959) Ruttenfang mit dem Ofenrohr. Allge-
of fishes or other aquatic animals. The combination          meine Fischereizeitung 84, 53–54.
                                                          Hickling, F.C. (1961) Tropical Inland Fisheries. London.
of an underwater camera with a pan and tilt unit          Hornell, J. (1950) Fishing in Many Waters. Cambridge.
and a transmitting mast enables such studies to be        Klunzinger, C.B. (1892) Bodenseefische, deren Pflege und
carried out from an office onshore, as was devel-            Fang. Stuttgart.
198                                    Fish Catching Methods of the World

Koch, G. (1965) Materielle Kultur der Gilbert-Inseln.        Rassow, M. (1958) Fischersprache und Brauchtum im
  Veroeffentlichungen des Museums für Völkerkunde              Lande zwischen dem Darss. Berlin.
  Berlin NF 6. Berlin.                                       Rostlund, E. (1952) Freshwater Fish and Fishing in Native
MacLaren, P.J.R. (1958) The Fishing Devices of                 North America. Los Angeles.
  Central and Southern Africa. The Occasional Papers of      Seligo, A. (1925) Die Fischerei in den Fliessen, Seen und
  the Rhodes–Livingstone Museum. Livingstone, Zambia.          Strandgewässern Mitteleuropas. Stuttgart.
Mohr, H. (1976) Auswirkungen der Erdgas- und                 Sinsoilliez, R. (1968) La Pêche à Pied, Coquillages et
  Erdölförderung auf die Fischerei in der Nordsee. Infor-      Crustacés. Paris.
  mationen fuer die Fischwirtschaft 23 (1), 23–25.           Thienemann, A. (1951) Bilder aus der Binnenfischerei auf
Nédélec, C. (ed.) (1975) FAO Catalogue of Small Scale          Java und Sumatra. Archiv fuer Hydrobiologie Supple-
  Fishing Gear. Farnham.                                       mentband 29, 529–618.
van Nhiem, T. (1956) Des poissons et des hommes. Tours,      de Thiersant, P.D. (1872) Le Pisciculture et la Pêche en
  Mamé.                                                        Chine. Paris.
Niedzwiedz, G. (1999) Design, building and running of        Voss, G.L. (1973) Cephalopod Resources of the World.
  a scientific measuring station for the investigation          FAO Fisheries Circular No.149.
  of artificial reefs in the region of the outer coast of     Walter, E. (1910) Der Flussaal. Neudamm.
  Mecklenburg–Vorpommern. Contributions on the               Welcomme, R.L. (1970) Les moyens de pêche dans les
  Theory of Fishing Gears and related Marine Systems.          eaux continentales du Dahomey. Études Dahoméennes
  Proceedings of the 4th International Workshop, Rostock       NS No. 17, 5–35.
  University.                                                Welcomme, R.L. (1971) A description of certain indig-
NN (1907) [Handbook of fishing gear in Siam]. Bangkok           enous fishing methods from southern Dahomey.
  [in Thai].                                                   African Journal of Tropical Hydrobiology and Fisheries
NN (1959–65) Illustrations of Japanese Fishing Boats and       1 (2), 129–140.
  Fishing Gear. Tokyo.                                       Welcomme, R.L. (1972) An evaluation of the acadja
NN (1999) Proceedings of the 7th International Conference      method of fishing as practised in the coastal lagoons of
  on Artificial Reefs and Related Aquatic Habitats in San       Dahomey (West Africa). Journal of Fish Biology 4,
  Remo.                                                        39–55.
Parker, R.O. Jr, Stone, R.B. & Buchanan, C.C. (1979) Arti-   Welcomme, R.L. (1979) Fisheries Ecology of Floodplain
  ficial reefs off Murrells Inlet, South Carolina. Marine       Rivers. London.
  Fisheries Review 41 (9), 12–24.                            Wilke, H. (1980) Krebssteine ein grosser Erfolg. Allge-
Pennington, F. (1979) The Japanese have many ways to           meine Fischerei-Zeitung 105 (8), 458.
  catch the giant octopus. Fishing News International 18     Yamashita, Y. (1976) The octopus fishery of Hokkaido.
  (11), 56–57.                                                 FAO Fisheries Report No. 170, Suppl. 1, 142–147. Rome.
        Permanent and Temporary Barriers

Fishing with primitive fishing gear is confined to               efficiency of this form of construction (see Figure
shallow waters. It was always so in olden times, and           15.8). The fish are caught behind the barrier in
is so even today in many parts of the world. Areas             shallow water with any type of gear. Often such
with a fluctuating water level attracted old-time               barriers have narrow passages where the fisherman
fishermen to the inundation areas of fresh waters as            awaits the catch. If he cannot catch the fish by
well as the tidal areas along the sea coast. In these          hand (Welcomme 1979), he tries to get them with a
areas it was not so difficult to obtain good catches.           spear, scoop net or other hand-operated gear. Some
During flood time, fish spread into those freshly                barriers, made of fences, are set in the form of a
inundated areas and, in the main, left them again as           large ‘V’ with a passage at the apex providing a
the water fell. In the small pools that were left,             place for the fisherman to lurk with his gear.
many fish remained and these could easily be                    Such passages with a catching place can be
caught. To increase the number of these pools, pits            very comfortable, as are those of the freshwater
were dug in areas likely to be flooded, and it may              fishermen in Madagascar, where, behind the
be that, from this, humans invented the first barriers          passage on the upstream side, a shelter for the
designed to prevent fish from escaping when the                 fisherman is made (Figure 15.1) in which there
water flowed back.                                              is a catching chamber from which the fish (eel)
   Barriers are made of many different materials.              cannot escape, and where they are killed. Strictly
Permanent ones are mostly made of piled-up                     speaking, this is not catching but simple killing,
stones. They can also be made of earth, mud or                 known also in other parts of the world. It has been
grass. Barriers can be of very heavy boarding, made            reported that at some African barriers fish are
of thick trees and thick boards: they can also be              killed with spears, and also axes (White 1956). In
light fences, transportable and sometimes only tem-            Europe it is recorded that migrating salmon were
porary, made of bamboo, reed, shrubs, wickerwork,              killed in the River Duna (Latvian river which runs
mats or netting. Modern barriers are now often                 into the Baltic) with clubs and lead balls tied onto
made of bricks or concrete. In tidal waters, fish and           a rope.
other prey, following the returning water as the tide             Barriers can be constructed in such a way that
ebbed, were trapped behind these natural or artifi-             they not only stop migrating fish, but also catch
cial obstructions, and needed only to be collected             them with additional fishing traps (Figures 15.2
by hand. This was carried out in the past and is still         and 15.3) or stow nets (Chapter 24). They can also
practised today. Barriers were also built in running           work as guiding arrangements for different types
and static waters to stop the movement of fish and              of fishing gear not considered in this chapter.
concentrating them in places suitable for catching             Fishing with barriers, especially when they are
(Maclaren 1958).                                               made of wooden fences, is considered in Europe
   The size of the barrier is constructed according            as a typical fishing technique of Finno-Ugrian
to local conditions. It can be a straight or curved            populations (Jankó 1900; Sirelius 1906; Antipa
wall, and fences ending in a spiral increase the               1916).

200                                    Fish Catching Methods of the World

15.1 Stone walls as tidal weirs                             Asia (Nishimura 1964, 1968), of Polynesia and
and traps                                                   Melanesia, in Australia (Thompson 1893), Africa
                                                            (Maclaren 1958; Clark 1971) and last but not least
Stone walls, simply made by piling up stones, are           in Europe. In all these places, fishing with stone
used in different ways in many parts of the world.          walls is considered a very old fishing method, and
They are known in the fisheries of east and south            some of the stone walls existing today date back to
                                                            early Neolithic times, and even to the pre-Sapiens
                                                            phase of human evolution (Nishimura 1964).There-
                                                            fore, some of the stone walls can be considered as
                                                            ‘living fossils of the oldest fishing gear’ (a descrip-
                                                            tion used in Japan) (Nishimura 1968) and as ‘the
                                                            only work of permanent character known to have
                                                            had its origin among aboriginal workmanship’
                                                            (used in Australia) (Thompson 1893).
                                                               In most cases, stone walls are used as barriers in
                                                            tidal areas. Here the stone walls can be more or less
                                                            permanent arrangements, sometimes named ‘tidal
                                                            weirs’ (Nishimura 1975). They are flooded at high
                                                            water when the fish can enter them. But as the tide
                                                            falls, some fish remain behind the dams if they are
                                                            correctly arranged. To keep back the fish, the tidal
                                                            weirs are made in a semi-circle or in the form of a
Figure 15.1 Buildings with chambers for catching eels       horseshoe (Figures 15.4 and 13.2). The walls are of
in the outflow of Lake Ithasy in Madagascar: left, accord-
ing to Kiener (1963); right, according to von Brandt        different lengths. It seems that the longest tidal
(1964).                                                     weirs, hundreds of metres long, can be found in

Figure 15.2 Permanent barrier in the river Eider in northern Germany at the outlet of Lake Westensee, with baskets
made of iron.
                                      Permanent and Temporary Barriers                                         201

Japan. Here there are stone walls >1000 m long,             retained behind this barrier, from where they are
built centuries ago (Nishimura 1975). At low tide           collected. The Japanese stone walls may have
the water can run easily through the piled-up               outlets to increase the speed of drainage, and these
stones, but the larger fishes cannot follow and are          outlets can be good places to catch the fish with
                                                            simple fishing methods.
                                                               Stone walls in tidal areas can be used in a similar
                                                            manner, as is done in Indonesia (Western Flores).
                                                            There, a wall is built in the shallow water parallel
                                                            to the sea shore. As in some of the Japanese stone
                                                            walls, there are passages through which the fish can
                                                            enter with the flood, but they are prevented from
                                                            escaping on the ebb tide. The outlets are closed and
                                                            the fish remain in the water-filled channel behind
                                                            the walls until they are collected (Figure 15.5). To
                                                            build large stone walls requires a ‘community spirit’
                                                            or some pressure from outside powers. Stone walls
                                                            are not used now as much as they were before, and
                                                            the loss of that community spirit may be the main
                                                            reason for this. Therefore it may be that tidal stone
                                                            walls have fulfilled their historical and economic
                                                            role (Nishimura 1975).
                                                               Stone constructions are not only used for
                                                            tidal weirs – they can also be used as fish traps
                                                            (Nishimura). That is a passive fishing gear into
                                                            which the fish is guided, in contrast to the tidal weirs
                                                            in which the fish enters by itself. But to build real
                                                            traps with stones may be difficult in comparison
                                                            with the construction of genuine traps from wooden
Figure 15.3 Temporary barrier made of mud and stones        materials. It seems that fish traps made of stone have
combined with a trap, Thailand (1960).                      to be combined with other materials to become an

Figure 15.4 Stone dam built off the coast of Guinea to capture fish as the tide falls.
202                                  Fish Catching Methods of the World

Figure 15.5 Pond in the tidal area of Indonesia used for catching fish. (Photo: Kollmannsperger 1973 with

effective gear. Figure 15.6 shows a trap made of         mentioned as using, even today, stone walls for their
stones for catching small fishes swimming upstream        eel fishery. These are not artificial, but built by
against the water falling in a cascade over a small      nature by the strong waves of the sea. The estuary
barrier.The fish cannot overcome this barrier and so      of Lake Forsyth in southern New Zealand is mostly
swim to the sides of the arrangement where the           separated from the sea by high barriers of pebbles.
water current is limited in such a way that only a fine   Some water may flow through but the eels can not
but uninterrupted flow comes over this barrier.           escape. The Maoris dig a trench 10–15 m long and
Under the cascade is a wooden semi-circular pipe         1–2 m wide (Figure 15.7) in this wall of pebbles. The
conducting water from just below the weir to a fish       eels following the current when migrating at night
box, or bag made of netting. Fish trying to overcome     are concentrated in the trench and can be caught
the barrier fall into the pipe and are guided into the   with bare hands, by gaffs, or by other gear.
catching box. This method is used not only in Japan
but also in Taiwan, where it is considered to be an
aboriginal fishing method.
                                                         15.2 Fish fences
   In this section, only stone walls have been men-      Earth walls and stone walls are permanent con-
tioned, but when stones are not available, walls may     structions, sometimes operated in fisheries for
be made of other materials, such as earth, which can     many centuries. This does not exclude the use of
be used in the same, or similar, manner. Here again      stone walls as temporary barriers but in this case
the famous Maoris of New Zealand have to be              the permanent walls are mostly replaced by more
Figure 15.6 Barriers to catch small fish swimming against the current near Taitung in Taiwan. The fish are not caught
in the middle cascades with strong currents but in the slower water on both sides.

Figure 15.7 Artificial trench built by Maori fishermen to concentrate eels behind a barrier of pebbles in Lake Forsyth,
New Zealand (1981).
204                                   Fish Catching Methods of the World

                                                           Figure 15.9 English ‘baulk net’ which operates auto-
                                                           matically during flood and ebb tide. It swings up to let
                                                           the fish in and then goes down as the tide flows out.
                                                           (From Davis 1958 with permission.)

                                                           prevent their escape. More will be said about
                                                           watched gear in a later section.
                                                              Nowadays fences are usually permanently com-
                                                           bined with traps, and sometimes with stow nets as
Figure 15.8 End of a fish fence in the tidal area near      well (Chapter 24), in which case they are no more
Majunga, Madagascar.                                       than a guiding arrangement. Moreover, home-made
                                                           wooden fences are no longer widely used. They are
or less durable fish fences, which can be easily            replaced mostly by more easily-handled netting
removed and transported when necessary. Such               when this is less expensive than home-made fences
non-permanent fish fences are still operated in             made of mats or rough wickerwork made of local
many fisheries of the world. They may consist of            materials. Netting can provide better gear for tidal
carefully plaited mats, strong bamboo walls, or            waters. On the North Sea coast of Britain, special
robust hedges made of brushwood. Such fish fences           nets have been developed which are suited to the
can be operated as tidal weirs, similarly to stone         conditions of high and low tide (Schnakenbeck
walls. Often the water does not flow over the fences,       1942). They are so constructed that they let the fish
but the fish come in with the current and swim              pass with the flood tide, but retain them when they
behind the fence which is set at an oblique angle to       try to follow the water out again on the ebb tide
the shore.                                                 (Figure 15.9).
   To increase the efficiency of these fences they are
set in a semi-circular form, and often the ends have
spiral forms to prevent the fish from following the
                                                           15.3 Gratings in flowing waters
falling water round the end of the fence (Figure           There are special types of barriers with arrange-
15.8). In this case, the fence sometimes guides the        ments for filtering out fish migrating with the
fish into the specially arranged ends where they are        current in a river. A relatively simple and useful
trapped. This may have given rise to the idea of           construction, especially in stronger currents, con-
using fish fences to construct independent catching         sists of a sloping grating screen constructed in the
facilities, as we will see later. Large fences can be      river and ascending in the direction of the current.
set in a straight line or in a zigzag pattern across the   The screen can be operated either with or without
tidal current, as was done formerly on the North           a watchman. Strong side walls are built at each side
Sea coast of Britain. On the side of the fence facing      of the screen, and the fish, swimming with the
the shore, a flat water channel is dug out, which           current, are thus guided onto the screen so that they
serves as a catching chamber from where the fish            actually run aground while the water disappears
are removed. Small fences can be used very simply,         through the slats of the screen. The construction of
by setting them as a semi-circle or three-quarters of      this screen is similar to the grating (called a ‘rake’)
a circle at the end of a water channel flowing into         that is installed before the entrances of turbines,
another channel or pool (Figure 13.3). The fence           etc., to catch drifting objects. However, the rods are
also serves as a catching chamber where fish may            set more closely together, depending on the size of
have concentrated, so a watch must be kept and the         fish to be caught. Figure 15.10 shows such fish rakes
chamber must be closed when fish are inside it to           from Mexico and from the old Indian fishery of
                                      Permanent and Temporary Barriers                                      205

                                                          north-west California. The strongly flowing current
                                                          presses the fish against the obliquely sloped grating
                                                          and washes them upwards. Trout and salmon are
                                                          caught in this way. Fish screens of this type are also
                                                          very well known in Japan (Figure 15.11). There,
                                                          companies operating such gear catch the much
                                                          appreciated ayu and eels, as well as other fresh-
                                                          water fish. Sometimes openings are cut in the
                                                          screens or filtering mats and net bags are hung
                                                          below them, so that the fish fall into them but
                                                          cannot escape. In such instances the catching equip-
                                                          ment operates automatically and does not need to
                                                          be guarded. Such barriers, where the fish are
                                                          stranded on a sloping grating, are known also in the
                                                          fishery of Kampuchea (Hickling 1961).
                                                             Catching fish, especially eels, by leading the
                                                          running water against a rake is also known in
Figure 15.10 Trough gratings of filtering mats used in     Europe. Figure 15.12 shows such a gear (similar to
rivers – the water filters through but the fish remain on   one in Japan; Figure 15.11), formerly in the German
top: (a) Mexico (from Sanchez 1959 with permission);      river Sauer (Eifel). The gear has an ascending
(b) Indian fishery of north-western California (from       grating made of wood, and walls of piled stones to
Kroeber & Barrett 1960 with permission).
                                                          guide the fish, which indicates how old this
                                                          gear may be. Figure 15.13 is a schematic drawing
                                                          showing how this type of gear can be constructed,

Figure 15.11 Japanese ‘yana’ for catching ayu fish and eels by the filtering method.
206                                    Fish Catching Methods of the World

                                                             Figure 15.14 Gratings for catching eels in the outlet of
                                                             a mill-pond in the Eifel, Germany. (Photo: G. Jens.)
Figure 15.12 Wooden grating ascending with the
current and with long stone walls for guiding the fish onto
the grating. Formerly in the German river Sauer (Eifel).
(Photo: G. Jens.)

                                                             Figure 15.15 A filtering barrier for catching migrating

Figure 15.13 Weir for eels in northern Germany. (The            Figure 15.16 shows a similar installation in
protecting building has not been drawn.)                     Scotland. Here the size of the grating can be
                                                             adjusted according to the quantity of the running
                                                             water, by covering the grating with boards. The fish
sometimes enclosed in a building, to guide the fish,          slide into a water channel along which they are
after stranding, into an unattended catching box.            guided into a catching chamber. Figure 15.17 gives
The reservoirs for mills, or the outlets of lakes, only      a total view of this arrangement with the fish col-
need a small grating assembly (Figure 15.14). Very           lecting box in the foreground.
often these smaller assemblies have a roof over the             The concept of separating fish and water by a fil-
catching chamber. Instead of an ascending gear, a            tering arrangement descending in the direction of
descending one can be installed, over which the fish          the current seems to be known also in other parts
glide into a fish box (Figure 15.15). With this type          of the world. Figure 15.18 shows an old Rumanian
of gear they remain in running water until removed.          gear made of wickerwork in a slipper-shaped form
                                           Permanent and Temporary Barriers                                         207

Figure 15.16 Scottish arrangement for filtering fish
migrating with the current over a grating (left), falling into
a channel to guide them into a collecting box (right), at
Ballater, near Aviemore (1974).

                                                                 Figure 15.17 Overall view of the arrangement for catch-
                                                                 ing fish swimming with the current. Behind the filtering
                                                                 part in the middle is a wooden channel for guiding the
                                                                 fish into the catching box in the foreground.

Figure 15.18 Old Rumanian wickerwork to filter fish
swimming with the current. (From Antipa 1916 with
permission.)                                                     forms and are simple to make, but they have to be
                                                                 watched, and some arrangement has to be made to
                                                                 close the entrance quickly as soon as the fish have
(Antipa 1916). This gear is called a ‘leasa’ and is              entered the gear. This principle has already been
placed in the current between stone walls which                  mentioned with simple earthen walls and fences.
guide the fish into the gear.                                     Figure 15.19 shows such an arrangement made
                                                                 of fences in Thailand. In this case the catching
                                                                 chamber functions in both directions. The method
15.4 Watched catching chambers                                   of watching a catching chamber, generally during
The simplest way to catch migrating fish is to set a              the daytime, and closing the gear when fish have
barrier in their way, such as a large open chamber               entered, is used even today with large chambers
into which the fish have no cause to hesitate to                  made of netting, provided that the catches are good
enter. Such chambers are known in many different                 and sufficient manpower is available!
208                                   Fish Catching Methods of the World

                                                               One of the oldest forms of this type of fishing
                                                            gear may be the chambers used in the Mediter-
                                                            ranean for catching tuna swimming near the coast-
                                                            line on their way to spawning grounds. The catching
                                                            places known and used today are thought to be
                                                            very old and used by the Phoenicians, Greeks and
                                                            Romans. In those times the catching places were
                                                            owned by temples and other holy places. It is not
                                                            quite clear how the catching chambers were con-
                                                            structed, or of what material they were made. But
                                                            there are, even today, simple chambers consisting of
                                                            nothing more than a rectangular place surrounded
                                                            by netting. One side is bounded by the shore, the
                                                            opposite one is formed by a length of netting, as is
                                                            the smaller length on the third side of this large
                                                            catching chamber. The last side is open and set in
                                                            such a way that the fish expected to be caught can
                                                            swim into the surrounded area without difficulty.
Figure 15.19 Barrier in Thailand with large catching        The fish are usually shoals of sardines or tuna or
chamber and entrances from both sides.                      other migrating fish. As soon as it has been ascer-
                                                            tained from a lookout (Figure 15.20) that the
                                                            expected fish have entered the chamber, the open
                                                            side is closed by netting lying ready on the ground.
                                                            The catch itself is then secured by other means. In

Figure 15.20 Yugoslavian barrier for tuna in the Adriatic Sea with two lookout posts.
                                    Permanent and Temporary Barriers                                      209

some cases the catching chamber has a bottom
netting which can be lifted to concentrate and
scoop the fish.
   More complicated than the simple chambers are
those sub-divided into different sections and com-
pleted with a long guiding part. Examples are the
tuna traps used in the Mediterranean fisheries.They
are known by several different names, including
‘tonnara’ in Italy, ‘madragues’ or ‘tonnaires’ in
France, ‘almadraba’ in Spain and ‘amicao’ by the
Portuguese. It may be that the Sicilian tonnara is
the oldest existing forerunner of modern pound
nets, specially invented in prehistoric times for the
capture of tuna and other migratory fish in the
Mediterranean. Today such gear consists of a
barrage, or leader, in the form of a wall of netting
stretching out more or less at right angles from the
shore, which bars the way to the fish and leads them
off in the direction of the impounding device. This
is a gear with several different chambers, in which
the fish are gathered and concentrated (Figure
15.21). The last chamber is the ‘death chamber’ (in
Italy the ‘camera della morte’), where the catch
takes place. This chamber is also named ‘leva’,
which means ‘liftnet’, because the chamber has a
bottom made of netting which is hauled to close the
chamber and to concentrate the fish (Figures 15.22
and 15.23) (Fodera 1961). There is not much differ-
ence between the Italian type of gear and the now-
forbidden madragues of France and those operated
in Spain and Portugal, in Morocco (off the Medi-
                                                        Figure 15.21 Spanish ‘almadraba’ with different catch-
terranean and Atlantic coast), and in Tunisia. The
                                                        ing chambers.
Portuguese introduced this effective gear into
Angola (Figure 15.24).
   In the Mediterranean area there is one more gear
which may have originated in the ancient tuna
fishery. It is not much more than a large catching       one or two wooden towers, to control the entrance
chamber such as that known also on the Yugosla-         of tuna or schools of other fish, such as mullet
vian coast (Figure 15.20). This is the Turkish          (Figure 15.25). The chamber is closed by lifting the
‘dalyan’. It seems clear that its original catching     netting (Figure 15.26). Tuna are caught with hooks
chamber was made of fences because there are,           and spears, smaller fishes with scoop nets or by
today, such gears made of wooden material and           hand after ‘drying up’ the netting (Mengi 1967,
operated in the same way. This gear also has to be      1977). These types of fishing gear with a look-out
watched. It is used in the eastern Mediterranean by     probably originated in the eastern part of the
the Turks, and also by the Bulgarians. It is also       Mediterranean. Here, and in the old fisheries of
known in the Russian fishery. The modern dalyan is       Russia, such watched chambers have been known,
made of netting and is held by sticks so that a         maybe since Phoenician times. Owing to increased
tonnara-like chamber is formed with an opening on       vessel traffic, the watchman and dalyan fishery in
the side from which the fish are expected to come.       the Bosporus area has not operated for about the
A watchman (or two) must stay during the day on         past 20 years (pers. comm. 2000).
210                                   Fish Catching Methods of the World

Figure 15.22 Italian ‘tonnara’. (From Bertuccioli 1955 with permission.)

Figure 15.23 Hauling up the ‘death chamber’ of a Sicilian ‘tonnara’. (Photo: Schärfe.)

   The idea of fishing with large watched chambers           fish are guided by a length of netting (Figure 15.27).
made of netting is not only known in the Mediter-           When herring or sardines have entered the gear,
ranean area. There is a floating form of this gear –         the entrance is closed by netting and the fish
the Japanese ‘kaku-ami’ or herring square set net –         are concentrated and caught by lifting up the net-
a large net box with an entrance through which the          ting on one side of the gear (NN 1959). The great
Figure 15.24 Hauling the catch of a ‘madrague’ off the coast of Angola.

                                                          Figure 15.25 Watchman on a Turkish ‘dalyan’ near
                                                          Beykoz in the Bosporus.
Figure 15.26 Entrance to a Turkish ‘dalyan’ which can be closed by lifting the netting. (From Mengi 1977 with

Figure 15.27 Japanese ‘kaku-ami’ for catching herring and sardines after closing the entrance and lifting the netting.
(From NN 1959 with permission.)
                                      Permanent and Temporary Barriers                                         213

Figure 15.28 Modern weir fishing for herring and
sardines on the Canadian Atlantic coast. (From New
Foundland Student Handout 2000).

disadvantage of watched chambers is that the large
and more effective ones, in spite of their simple con-
struction, are nowadays very costly to build and
maintain. Many helping hands are needed for their
operation (Figure 15.23) and often when good
catches cannot be predicted. During the fishing
season the fisherman must always be present to do
the catching. This is, of course, a burden that is not
suitable for a modern fishery, and, consequently,
endeavours have been made to remove the need for
watching by providing automatic fishing barriers
which do not require a permanent guard. On the
other hand, modern barriers made with netting of
synthetic fibre are often owned and operated by
communities of fishermen. Set up in good places,           Figure 15.29 Fish fences set in the form of labyrinths:
this type of gear can be very successful for catching     (a) fish fence of Finland; (b) Korean fish fence; (c) fish
migrating fish.                                            fences in triangular form; (d) Japanese labyrinth used in
                                                          big lakes; (e) heart-shaped form from the estuary of the
                                                          Danube; (f) Swedish fish fence; (g) fish fence of north-
                                                          eastern Europe. (a) (e) (g) From Jankó 1900 with per-
15.5 From barrier to fish trap                             mission; (d) from NN 1959 with permission; (f) from
As has been shown in Section 15.2 of this chapter,        Herman 1900 with permission.
transportable light barriers can be made from
fences, and are used especially in tidal areas. It has
also been shown that fences can be constructed            leading nets. A very sophisticated construction is
with spirals at their ends (Figure 15.8). These spirals   known in Japan for setting in fish runs (Figure
cannot prevent the escape of the fish completely,          15.29d). In some cases the fish may find the way out.
but they hamper them from finding the way out.             The chance of this happening will be decreased, not
Such arrangements, with intricate winding passages,       only by a more complicated arrangement of the
are considered as labyrinths and they have been           fences, but also when catching chambers are com-
used in many fisheries (Figure 15.28). Simple forms        bined with each other so that one runs into another,
of such labyrinth fences can be plain spirals, or         and maybe the second one is followed by a third
kidney or heart-shaped chambers. Some of them             (Figures 15.29f,g and 15.30b,c). Theoretically, the
can become complicated when combined with                 fish can still find the way out, but it becomes
214                                   Fish Catching Methods of the World

                                                           return device, but this transition from fences and
                                                           other materials used for barriers, to fishing gear
                                                           considered as real traps, will be discussed in Sec-
                                                           tions 16.2 and 16.3 of the next chapter, which deals
                                                           with trapping.

                                                           Antipa, G.R. (1916) Pesca ria si Pescuitul in România.
                                                             Bucharest [in Rumanian].
                                                           von Brandt, A. (1964) Madagaskar, fischereiliche
                                                             Reisenotizen. Protokolle zur Fischereitechnik IX (41),
                                                           Clark, G. (1971) The Stone Age Hunters. Library of Early
                                                             Civilisation, London.
                                                           Davis, F.M. (1958) An account of fishing gear of England
                                                             and Wales. Fishery Investigations Ser. II, Vol. 21, No. 8.
                                                           Fodera, U. (1961) The Sicilian Tuna Trap. FAO GFCM
                                                             Studies and Reviews No. 15.
                                                           Hickling, F.C. (1961) Tropical Inland Fisheries. London.
                                                           Jankó, J. (1900) Herkunft der Magyarischen Fischerei.
                                                           Kiener, A. (1963) Poissons, Pêche et Pisciculture à Mada-
                                                             gascar. Noyons-sur-Marne (Seine).
                                                           Kroeber, A.L. & Barrett, S.A. 1960 Fishing among the
                                                             Indians of northwestern California. Anthropological
                                                             Records 21, 1. Los Angeles.
                                                           MacLaren, P.J.R. (1958) The Fishing Devices of Central
                                                             and Southern Africa. The Occasional Papers of the
                                                             Rhodes–Livingstone Museum. Livingstone, Zambia.
                                                           Mengi, T. (1967) Der Beykoz-Dalyan. Protokolle zur
                                                             Fischereitechnik 10, 351–415.
                                                           Mengi, T. (1977) Batikçilik teknigi. [Fishing techniques.]
                                                             Black Sea, Marmara Sea and some special forms of
                                                             fishing gear. Istanbul [in Turkish].
                                                           Nishimura, A. (1964) Primitive fishing methods. In:
                                                             Ryukyuan Culture and Society 67–77.
                                                           Nishimura, A. (1968) Living fossils of the oldest fishing
                                                             gear in Japan. In: VIIIth International Congress of
                                                             Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences. Tokyo and
                                                           Nishimura, A. (1975) Cultural and social change in the
Figure 15.30 Big weirs made of wood: (a) bamboo              modes of ownership of stone tidal weirs. In: Maritime
weir of Thailand (from NN 1953 with permission);             adaptations of the Pacific; Casteel, R. H. and Quimbi,
(b) Menhaden weir of the North American coast (from          G. J. (eds). 77–88. The Hague.
Sundstrom 1957 with permission); (c) sardine weir of the   NN (1959–65) Illustrations of Japanese Fishing Boats and
Philippines (from Umali 1950 with permission).               Fishing Gear. Tokyo.
                                                           Sanchez, P.M. (1959) Breve Reseña Sobre las Principales
                                                             Artes de Pesca Usadas en Mexico. Mexico [in Spanish].
                                                           Schnakenbeck,W. (1942) Stehende Geräte. Handbuch der
                                                             Seefischerei Nordeuropas 4. Stuttgart.
increasingly difficult and unlikely. The way out can        Sirelius, U. T. (1906) Über die Sperrfischerei bei den fin-
be made even more difficult if the large entrance of          nischugrischen Völkern. Helsingfors.
the first chamber becomes smaller with the second           Thompson, L.G. (1893) History of the Fisheries of New
one and the third may be only a slit. The fish has to         South Wales. Sydney.
                                                           Welcomme, R.L. (1979) Fisheries Ecology of Floodplain
press through to get into the next catching chamber          Rivers. London.
and then there is no more chance of finding the way         White, C.M.N.T. (1956) The role of hunting and fishing in
back. In this form we have a real trap with a non-           Luvale society. African Study 15 (2), 75–86.

Generally speaking, in fishery and hunting trapping              caught at a time. Nevertheless, we begin this
means that the wanted prey enters a catching                    chapter with the so-called tubular traps.
chamber from which escape is difficult or even
impossible. The prey enters the trap voluntarily,
                                                                16.1 Tubular traps and
maybe when searching for a shelter, or when lured
by some bait, or when frightened and guided by
                                                                thorn-lined traps
fishermen or hunters. Mechanical traps of this type              Tubular traps are funnel-shaped gear, mostly closed
(Chapter 18) are most effective in hunting, but have            at the smaller end and without any non-return
the disadvantage, for fisheries, that the trap is closed         device. They can be made of split bamboo reeds
as soon as a single fish has entered and so no more              (Figure 16.1) or of slender branches (Figures 16.2–
catching can take place. As has been shown in                   16.4); they can also be made of plaited smooth bast
Chapter 15, there are some methods by which fish                 or from netting yarn (Figure 16.5). In non-tropical
are trapped in catching chambers, including some                countries the tubular traps are made of rods of
with large entrances, which have to be watched and              hazel, linden, spruce or willow. They are slender
closed by hand as soon as fish are seen to enter. This           elastic funnels which the fish enter, maybe volun-
may be an effective way to operate a fishing gear                tarily searching for shelter, or lured by bait.
even today, except that it is labour intensive. The                The fish creeps into the gear, gets stuck, tries to
solution was found of making the entrances smaller              move back, but is prevented by the backward-
and smaller, and so finally the entrance itself                  angled rays of its own dorsal fins. Tubular traps are
became a non-return device, allowing the fish to                 used especially to catch catfish in this manner in the
enter the trap but making it practically impossible             swamp fisheries of Africa (Hickling 1961). There,
for them to leave the catching chamber again.                   the baited trap may be combined with a fence to
Today, non-return devices are considered typical                guide the fish into the gear (White 1956). Obviously
for fishing traps. This is the same for all traps                the long, narrow fish is unable to turn round
whether used for fish, crustaceans or gastropods.                because there is no room in the smooth, loosely
The form and size of a catching chamber can have                plaited tube. Traps of this tubular form are familiar
many variations but the principle of catching is                from the fisheries of Europe, Asia and Africa, as
always the same. But in fisheries, as in hunting,                well as from the ancient Indian fishery of the New
there is also another, possibly older, principle by             World (Sirelius 1906; Ligers 1953; Mengi 1967).
which the prey can be prevented from escaping.                  They are characterized by their length and small
These are gears, looking more or less like a long               width. In the Indian fishery of California, these
funnel, which the fish enters and then becomes                   fishing tubes sometimes ended above water level.
jammed between the narrowing sides of the gear.                 Their length was given as up to 14 feet, i.e. > 4 m, so
This is another solution based on the principle                 that fish could proceed a long way up them but as
already mentioned, but it also has the disadvantage             they did so, their return, because of the narrow
that, in general, not more than one fish can be                  width, became increasingly impossible.

216                                  Fish Catching Methods of the World

Figure 16.1 Tubular traps made of split bamboo, without funnels, as used in parts of India.

Figure 16.2 Tubular traps of the Wagenia fishermen in the Zaire River near Kisangani. (Photo: B. Konietzko.)

   Some tubular traps are typical fishing gear for          with their openings against the current in such a
rivers with strong currents (MacLaren 1958). In this       way that the fish may be swept into the gear. Such
case, the traps are set in large scaffolding, particu-     traps are sometimes set vertically below an artifi-
larly where the flow is concentrated, and are set           cial waterfall, so that the water carrying the fish falls
Figure 16.3 Tubular trap used in the Zaire River, near Kisangani. (Photo: FAO, R. Kreuzer.)

Figure 16.4 Fishing place for tubular traps in the Bandama River, Ivory Coast (1971).
218                                  Fish Catching Methods of the World

                                                         recently, of aluminium. In the Severn district of
                                                         England, the gear was called ‘putcher’ or ‘butt’ and
                                                         was used for catching salmon (Davis 1958).
                                                            In the southern Asiatic fishery, yet another way
                                                         was found of retaining fish in such tubular traps. On
                                                         their interior side, thorny twigs of rattan or other
                                                         plants were fastened. These are pointed inwards
                                                         like barbed hooks and thus prevent the fish, once it
                                                         has entered, from retreating. Here, as in the smooth
                                                         tubular traps mentioned before, bait is put into the
                                                         innermost part of the gear to attract the fish into
                                                         the funnel. These thorn-lined traps are especially
                                                         used in Indonesia, but are also known in Indo-
                                                         China (Burma, Malaysia), in the northern Philip-
                                                         pines, and as far away as Australia, Taiwan and
Figure 16.5 Smooth tubular trap made of netting,         Melanesia (Anell 1960). There are also variations
Thailand.                                                of them in use in East Africa. It is supposed that
                                                         this type of trap, equipped with thorns, may have
                                                         originated in the pre-Austronesian cultural area
into, and through, the gear. Escape for the fish is       (Koch 1971) known for fishing as well as for
then impossible. Fish, however, can get slightly         hunting. Figure 16.6 shows two thorn-lined traps, of
damaged by this method. Tubular traps of this type,      which the larger one is a typical tubular trap. The
set both vertically and horizontally, are known in       smaller one is suspended from a float and, when
Asia, Africa and South America. They can be              operated, is wrapped with some leaves. As soon as
placed on the bed of a shallow stream like a barrier.    the fish has entered and tries to get free, a weight
The fishermen or fisherwomen proceed upstream              is released and the trap then rises (with its catch)
for some distance and return downstream, driving         by means of the float to the surface of the water.
the fishes into the open mouth of the traps (Hornell         Before ending this section, it has to be added that
1950). Tubular traps are operated today in some          tubular traps can be used in another manner. On
rivers of western Africa. A well-known example of        Lake Chad, tubular traps are used to filter fish
tubular traps used in rivers with a strong current are   which are drawn out with the water from a pond.
those of the Wagenia fishermen in the Zaire River         This method of catching fish by drawing out is also
near Kisangani (Figures 16.2 and 16.3). At a place       known in other parts of the world, where fish ponds
where the mighty river narrows into rapids, the          are drained off and the fish scooped out through a
local fishermen build long scaffolds of poles lashed      sieve in the form of a reed box or a pocket-shaped
together with wires. From this rickety pier they         basket (MacLaren 1958).
hang tubular traps, 3 m and more long and up to 2 m
in diameter at the mouth. The principle of the
device is that fish, passively swept into the narrow-
                                                         16.2 Non-return devices
ing gap between palisades by the swift current, are      The method of catching fish by the use of compli-
dashed against the poles of a palisade-like struc-       cated catching chambers has been improved by the
ture. The fish, perhaps stunned, are carried by the       development of non-return devices (Figure 16.7).
force of the current into the tubular traps, from        In the final section of Chapter 15, one type was
which they cannot escape. The traps are checked          mentioned which had an entrance like a ‘V’ with a
every day and the contents emptied out (Hickling         small slit at the narrow point, through which the fish
1961). The old European fishery also used quite a         can force itself as it will do when making its way
number of such traps without non-return devices:         through water plants. There is very little chance of
they were called ‘Anschläger’ in German-speaking         the fish returning the same way (Figure 16.7a). This
countries (Sirelius 1906). In Scotland such gear is      type of non-return device is used especially for
made of whitethorn or hazel twigs and, more              traps with a catching chamber made of any form of
                                                     Trapping                                                    219

Figure 16.6 Thorn-lined traps of Oceania. (Photo:
Ethnographical Museum, Leiden.)                            Figure 16.7 Entrances of traps: (a) in the form of a slit;
                                                           (b) in the form of a step; (c) (d) funnel with hinged flap;
                                                           (e) turned entrance of a trap used in the Antilles.
fence or fence-like material. Another very simple
way of preventing an escape, or making it more dif-
ficult, is to install a step, if possible with a ramp, as   the opening of the gear into the catching chamber.
in Figure 16.7b. This step guides the approaching          Such a funnel-shaped valve is often called the
fish from the bottom up to a higher level. As soon          throat.
as it has passed over the step it will drop down to           Throats are typical for smaller traps made of
its former depth. Thus it does not usually find its         wood, wire or netting. With the original wooden
way out of the trap again by the way it came in –          baskets, a funnel-shaped valve can be formed in a
even though it could easily swim over the step if it       simple way by fitting two pointed baskets, one into
knew it was there. Entrapment gear with such a step        the other. With fyke nets made of netting, the con-
is known in many fisheries, e.g. in the Sea of Azov         struction of a funnel-shaped throat becomes more
(NN 1952), or in the coastal waters of Japan (NN           difficult. Therefore, the manufacture of well-formed
1959–65). These ramps can guide quite large shoals         funnels is properly included in the training of young
of sardine-like fish into the enclosure (Figure             fishermen (Bobzin & Finnern 1978). For baskets
16.68). Non-return devices in the form of a step or        made of wood or wire, sometimes single elastic rods
ramp are used when the gear is made of netting, and        are allowed to protrude from the funnel into the
large catches are expected.                                inner part of the trap, into its first chamber, some-
   With smaller gear, the entrance with the non-           times named the parlour (Figure 16.8). The fish,
return device is formed like a funnel (Figure              lobster, or crawfish may be able to press these rods
16.7c,d,e) whose tapered end is directed away from         apart when it enters the gear, but the points bar the
220                                   Fish Catching Methods of the World

                                                           Figure 16.9 Behaviour of a fish guided by the funnel
                                                           into a trap.
Figure 16.8 Fishing pot made of wire with elastic spikes
around the opening of the funnel to prevent fish escap-
ing. Lake Lucerne, Switzerland (1954).
                                                           demonstrated in Figure 16.9. A fish entering the
                                                           trap is guided as demonstrated. Swimming in
way out when it tries to leave the trap. Neverthe-         circles, the single fish or the fish shoal has virtually
less, to ensure that any fish caught cannot escape          no chance of finding the way to the entrance. This
through the funnel, a flap may be fastened in front         is a fact used in other fishing gear, e.g. purse seines.
of the opening so that it swings open only towards         Moreover, non-return devices are arrangements
the interior of the trap (Figure 16.7d). There are         which are fitted to other types of fishing gear, such
such iron flaps in lobster pots and wooden shrimp           as stow nets, trawls and seine nets. They are one of
baskets, e.g. of the type that were formerly used          the basic elements of fishing gear construction.
exclusively on the Friesian coast. The Japanese
close some wooden traps in the same way, with a
curtain of slanting bamboo sticks which can be
                                                           16.3 Trapping barriers made of fences
lifted only when coming in from the outside. Finally,      As shown before, barriers can have small passages
the funnel-shaped throat may not be made straight,         to facilitate catching. When these are made in the
but can be bent to make it even more difficult for          form of a slit leading to an enclosed catching
the fish to get out. In this way a kind of step is com-     chamber, a fishing gear is formed which is con-
bined with the funnel so that the entrance to the          sidered a true trap. Figure 16.10 shows such an
funnel and its outlet into the enclosure are not on        arrangement in a river of Kampuchea (Fily &
the same level. Figure 16.7e shows an arrangement          d’Aubenton 1965). In this case the barrier is made
used for some types of wooden baskets. In some             of a strong wood frame covered with fences made
traps several enclosures are often set one after           of mats. The whole barrier has a ‘V’-like form with
another, with the openings of the entrances becom-         a small passage. The large opening of the ‘V’, by
ing increasingly narrow. With fyke nets, the first          which the fish pass into a permanent enclosure,
opening of the funnel on the entrance of the trap          faces the current. From here they can be guided or
may be a square, the opening of the next funnel may        driven into a smaller movable container, which can
be triangular and that of the last a narrow slit only.     be pulled out of the water by a pulley system. A
   The principle of these different forms of non-          sampan is slipped underneath and the fish are
return device is to keep the fish away from the             emptied into the vessel through an outlet in the
entrance. As has been said of the non-return device        bottom of the container. In this example, a strongly
in the form of a step, the fish, returning to the           built barrier was incorporated in a trap-like fishing
bottom, has little chance of finding the entrance           gear.This can be done more easily by flexible fences
again even when it is very broad. What happens             as shown in Figure 15.29. This facility has been used
with the slit-like or funnel-shaped entrances is           in many fisheries to build real traps with slit
                                                     Trapping                                                  221

                                                           as non-return devices. These may be long barriers
                                                           which include traps or small barriers set in a trap-
                                                           like manner. Figure 16.15 shows a barrier with a
                                                           long row of connected traps made of fences off the
                                                           Ivory Coast. Figure 16.16 shows a similar fishing
                                                           gear from Indonesia, but these are large-scale traps
                                                           that will be mentioned in Section 16.9.
                                                              Before ending this section, one of the most
                                                           famous barriers made of fences has to be men-
                                                           tioned.This is operated in the Italian fishery for eels
                                                           between Ravenna and Venice with the main centre
                                                           in the Valli di Comacchio (Figure 16.17) (de Angelis
                                                           1959). These barriers were originally made of reeds
Figure 16.10 Barrier in Kampuchea with a small             (Figure 16.18) with an entrance in the form of a slit.
passage like a slit leading the prey into a catching       During experiments, some parts were made of
chamber. (From Fily & d’Aubenton 1965 with                 plastic tubes, but the modern barriers are made
permission.)                                               of concrete with slit-like non-return devices made
                                                           of steel (Figure 16.19). Figure 16.20 shows the prin-
                                                           ciple of this method for catching eels migrating
                                                           from the sea into the lagoons. The fish move from
                                                           the sea towards the saline lagoons through the open
                                                           entrances of the barrier. Good-sized fish will be
                                                           caught in the chamber between the two fences,
                                                           because the openings in the next and later catching
                                                           chambers become smaller and smaller until only
                                                           small elvers can escape into the lagoons. On the
                                                           other hand, eels coming from the lagoons through
                                                           the openings in the direction of the sea will be
                                                           caught in the chamber towards the sea because at
                                                           this migrating time all other openings are closed (de
                                                           Angelis 1959). These trapping barriers for eels are
                                                           similar to those made by the Italians to catch mullet
                                                           (Mugilidae) (Figure 16.21) and also those operated
                                                           in Ireland to catch salmon in the River Shannon
                                                           (Figure 16.22) near Limerick.

Figure 16.11 Barriers with catching chambers made of
fences with slit-like entrances in Rumania. (From Antipa   16.4 Wooden pots
1916 with permission.)
                                                           It is typical of traps that the fish or other prey enters
                                                           a catching chamber from which escape may be dif-
entrances as a non-return device. Figure 16.11             ficult, especially when the way out of the trap is
shows barriers of fences set as traps in heart-shaped      secured by a non-return device (Figure 16.7). This
form from Rumania (Antipa 1916), which do not              is also true of wooden traps, generally known as
differ very much from a barrier crossing a lagoon          fishing pots or baskets.
in Benin (Figure 16.12) (Welcomme 1979). Such                 Fishing traps made of fences have open chambers
arrangements do not always need to have round              which are two-dimensional (Monod 1973), and it is
forms. Figures 16.13 and 16.14 show the principle of       sometimes necessary to let the fences rise well
a similar Turkish arrangement (Mengi 1977). But            above the water surface to prevent fish from escap-
there may be no place in the world where fences            ing by jumping over the fences. In contrast to
have not been set as traps with slit-like entrances        these traps, pots are three-dimensional, having
222                                  Fish Catching Methods of the World

Figure 16.12 Barrier with catching chambers made of fences in a lagoon in Benin. (From Welcomme 1979 with

                                                          completely closed chambers, with the exception of
                                                          one or more entrances secured by non-return
                                                          devices (Figures 16.23–16.29). As with traps made
                                                          of fences there can be one or more of these catch-
                                                          ing chambers one after the other, each with an
                                                          entrance in the form of a funnel (Figure 16.28a). All
                                                          pots are transportable movable fishing gear.
                                                          Wooden pots, together with other types of fishing
                                                          gear made of this material, are early stages in the
                                                          development of fishing technology. Of course, they
                                                          are older than other traps made of netting. Never-
                                                          theless, some types of wooden pots have an impor-
                                                          tant place in some fisheries today because of their
                                                          great stability, especially in rivers and coastal
                                                          waters. The large quantities of wooden pots oper-
                                                          ated for catching crustaceans in the offshore fish-
                                                          eries of Norway, Great Britain and France are a
                                                          good example of their usefulness in industrial fish-
                                                          eries. Also the wooden eel-boxes with movable
                                                          cover and throats which have been used in the Ijssel
                                                          Sea in the Netherlands since the early 1970s
                                                          (Deelder 1971) can be seen as a very effective
                                                          working fishing pot (Figure 16.24). These boxes are
                                                          set according the longline system (see also Section
Figure 16.13 Turkish barrier, so-called ‘wooden dalyan’
                                                          16.10) and they are baited with small smelts. The
with catching chambers. (From Mengi 1977 with             bait fish has a strong smell like cucumbers, so the
permission.)                                              eel is stimulated not only to look for a shelter but
                                                          also for food. Two non-return devices (throats) at
                                                          each end of the box prevent the eel escaping once
                                                          it is completely inside the box.The maximum length
                                                   Trapping                                                223

Figure 16.14 Turkish ‘wooden dalyan’ (1963).

Figure 16.15 Fences arranged as traps off the Ivory Coast. (Photo: Steinberg, 1965.)

of the eel which can be caught seems to be pro-              Traditional wooden pots are made from strips of
portional to the length of the box. One or two little     reed, split bamboo, rattan, or wood laths. They may
round gaps are provided to allow undersized eels to       be plaited in a similar manner to the early agricul-
escape. The production is very easy and can be            tural wicker baskets or carefully woven like mats.
carried out by the fishermen themselves (Gabriel           They can be made of parallel strips of wood, like
1998). Pots can be made of wire, plastic or other         European crayfish pots (Figure 16.25) or of paral-
hard material as well as the traditional wood.            lel sticks, sometimes with large square meshes, as in
224                                   Fish Catching Methods of the World

Figure 16.16 Trap-like arrangement of fences in Indonesia. (Photo: Kollmannsperger, 1976.)

Figure 16.17 Barrages for catching eels in
Valli di Comacchio, Italy (from Hornell 1950
with permission).

some African fisheries (Figures 16.26 and 16.27).          to handle. Nevertheless, a few were still operated in
They can also be plaited in a complicated hexago-         recent decades (Figure 16.26) because their weight
nal shape (Figure 13.4) or a seldom-used pentago-         was reduced by partially constructing them from
nal shape. Due to the materials used and the              lighter-weight material. In this respect the large,
techniques by which pots are made and their world-        and sometimes heavy, ‘bubus’ of the sea fisheries of
wide distribution, it is not surprising that varying      South Asia have to be mentioned. These are oper-
shapes of pots have evolved. Figure 16.28 gives a         ated at great depths where they remain for a long
small selection of examples only. It is understand-       time. The bubus vary greatly in size and construc-
able that, because wooden pots are transportable          tion. Their entrance can be a simple slit or a curved
fishing gear and because of the material from which        funnel. Originally these traps were made of woven
they are made, they can have only a limited size.         bamboo or rattan. Nowadays a framework of wood
When soaked with water, large wooden pots can be          or wire is used (Figure 16.29), covered with chicken
very heavy. Wooden pots with an opening of a              wire. Larger pots as used in sea fisheries can have
person’s height are rare, because they are difficult       the form of a beehive, but then the entrance is from
                                                 Trapping                                                 225

                                                       tube-like pots of Thailand and Nepal have secured
                                                       entrances on the side (Figure 16.28d).
                                                          An interesting wooden trap is the so-called
                                                       ‘Madeira trap’ from which the ‘Antilles trap’ has
                                                       been developed. This was originally heart-shaped
                                                       and made of hexagonally plaited rattan strips
                                                       (Figure 16.38). Its distribution history is more or
                                                       less known. These traps are supposed to have orig-
                                                       inated in India and Sri Lanka and to have been
                                                       brought back by the Portuguese after sailing round
                                                       southern Africa to the Seychelles, Madagascar and
                                                       Madeira, and later to Brazil and the Caribbean.
                                                       Originally the heart-shaped traps had one central
                                                       entrance only (Figure 16.38); now the West Indian
                                                       or Antilles traps have the form of a single or double
                                                       ‘Z’ with two or four opposed valves (Figure 16.39)
                                                       (Mas & Buesa 1962; Wolf & Chislett 1974). There
                                                       are many variations in the form and size of wooden
                                                       pots. Some strange house-shaped types used in
                                                       Oceania (Figure 16.28e) are built according to the
                                                       special secrets of different families and are used to
                                                       catch moray eels (Koch 1971).
                                                          There are many different types of wooden traps
                                                       but it is hoped that those mentioned will indicate
                                                       the very many forms they can take. As mentioned
                                                       before, wooden pots can be very heavy. In order to
                                                       reduce their weight, use of heavy hardwood can be
                                                       restricted to the framework only. This is then
Figure 16.18 Catching chamber in Comacchio made of     covered with lighter material such as netting or tex-
reeds (1975).                                          tiles. Large and small traps are constructed in this
                                                       manner (Figures 16.30 and 16.36).
                                                          Pots – not only the wooden ones – are mostly
below, which means that they have to lie on the side   used as bottom gear without any other arrange-
when fishing (Figures 16.30, 16.31 and 16.32).          ments for leading the prey into the trap, but in most
Smaller forms of wooden pots, like the French          cases they are baited. This is also so when pots are
lobster pots, have the entrance at the top (Figure     set according to the longline system, as in the
16.33 and 16.34). A French dictionary of fisheries      example in Figure 16.40 for traps operated for crab
terms compares their form with ‘champignons sans       fishing at the Canadian Atlantic coast (NN 2000).
pied’ and the English speak of ‘inkwell pots’          This longline system is also used in fresh waters, e.g.
(Edwards 1978). Pots in this form are also used for    for eel traps in rivers. As with other gear, the long-
catching whelks in England (Figure 16.35).             line system facilitates the easy handling of the gear.
   Some pots are like barrels or drums, originally     The disadvantage of this system is that single pots
developed in France for langoustines. They are         can be placed more efficiently than several joined
made of wooden laths. Nowadays the two ends are        together. This is the reason why, e.g. for rock lob-
closed by netting or wire (Figure 16.36). This type    sters in Australia or New Zealand, the pots are
also has the entrance on the upper side. Other pots    set singly after checking the ground with echo
are bottle shaped, like the eel traps operated in      sounders.
Europe and elsewhere (Figures 16.28a and 16.37).          Pots can also be operated in combination with
The entrance is in front and more than one funnel      barriers (Figure 15.2), usually as interchangeable
prevents the escape of the prey. Only some very        gear in the outlets of a barrier. In this case the
226                                 Fish Catching Methods of the World

Figure 16.19 Newer catching chamber in Comacchio (1975).

                                                        unusual examples are barriers with pots operated
                                                        even in the late 20th century by the Maoris in
                                                        New Zealand for catching lamprey during their
                                                        upstream migration. In the strong current of a river,
                                                        a barrier with some passages is placed which the
Figure 16.20 Plan of the Italian method for catching    lamprey try to swim through. Often this will not be
eels between the sea and lagoon in Comacchio. (From
de Angelis 1959 with permission.)                       possible. By the jet-effect of the gap, the fish are
                                                        pressed back and driven into the traps placed
                                                        before the barrier. The fishing gear is a wooden pot
                                                        with an opening enlarged by a funnel made of
passages of the barrier need not be watched by          large-meshed netting (Figure 16.41) (Todd 1979).
fishermen to catch the passing fish with spear, gaff         Pots can also be used to catch pelagic fish, in
or scoop net. Unwatched traps in the passages will      which case the basket does not stand horizontally,
catch the prey automatically. There is a relationship   as on the bottom, but vertically. The Javanese used
between the strength of a current and the number        small baskets set vertically for catching freshwater
of traps; each gape of a trap reduces the force of      shrimps (Thienemann 1951). In Malta, egg-shaped
the current, and its power to swirl fish along is thus   baskets were used (Figure 16.42). They are baited
lessened (Brelsfjord 1946). For this reason not too     and two are fixed on a main line, held by a float
many baskets should be built into a barrier. On the     above and by a weight below (von Brandt 1966).
other hand, there is no doubt that a combination        Finally, baskets made of wickerwork can be made
of traps in any form with barriers increases their      as floating gear when fixed on the underside of a
catching efficiency considerably. Interesting and        raft.
                                                    Trapping                                                 227

Figure 16.21 Italian arrangement for catching mullet near Ansedonia, Tyrrhenian coast of Italy (1971).

                                                              In most cases, well-known pots made of wood
16.5 Pots made of wire                                     have been the model for wire pots. Even the famous
As mentioned, pots are a three-dimensional trap            Antilles traps, in a ‘Z’ form with two or four
which means that their catching chambers are com-          entrances (Figure 16.39), can be made of wire
pletely closed with the exception of the entrance.         instead of split bamboo. In the Mediterranean, the
Such traps can be made of many materials other             Greeks and their neighbours use very flat round
than wood. An early method of making traps for             wire traps with the opening at the top.When fishing,
catching fish, crayfish or even beavers, was to use          these traps are camouflaged with seaweed (Figure
hexagonal chicken or poultry wire in different             16.46). This flat wire trap may be an old type of
forms. The disadvantage of traps made of wire is           basket trap and is known in Saudi Arabia and in the
that they are vulnerable to rust, even when galva-         Persian Gulf, where a similar trap is considered a
nized. Nevertheless, they are well known in fresh-         traditional fishing pot. But this type is, or was, also
water fisheries (Figures 16.43 and 16.44) and in sea        known in the western part of the Mediterranean
fisheries such as those in the Persian Gulf where           (Garau 1909).
wire baskets as high as a person are known (Figure            Many experiments have been made in an effort
16.45). In sea fisheries, wire traps are sometimes          to overcome the difficulties of the rusting of wire
protected by zinc and aluminium anodes which are           pots in sea water. Traps have been made from sea-
placed in the traps. The anode generates an electri-       water-resistant aluminium wire or of iron wire
cal current, inhibiting the corrosion of the wire and      coated with plastic. Sometimes the valves of wire
increasing the value of the trap.                          traps have been made of plastic or even of sheet
228                               Fish Catching Methods of the World

                                                     Figure 16.23 Small Turkish pots as operated in the
Figure 16.22 Salmon trap in River Shannon, Ireland   Bosporus to catch smaller fish (1971).

Figure 16.24 Wooden fish box to
catch eel in the Ijssel Sea.
                                                  Trapping                                               229

Figure 16.25 Pot made of strips of wood for catching
crayfish in German fresh waters.

                                                        Figure 16.27 Wooden basket with square meshes
                                                        made of palm leaves, from Nigeria. (Photo: Bacalbas

                                                        be seen in Figure 16.48. The American plastic
                                                        coated wires can be used to form crab pots without
                                                        a frame. Finally, it may be added that sometimes old
                                                        wooden pots of half rotten, weakened, but still very
                                                        effective, sticks of bamboo are covered with wire
                                                        netting to give them an added life, which for
Figure 16.26 Large wooden basket of Shaba. (Photo:      instance the Australians did in their lobster fishery
C.P. Halain, 1966.)
                                                        (Hughes 1969).

metal (Lane 1960). A successful idea – and also an
                                                        16.6 Traps made of netting
economic one – may be to replace the wire with a        In contrast to wooden pots and some wire traps,
stiff PE netting which, especially in France, is used   those made of netting require special supporting
more and more with wooden traps (Figure 16.47).         arrangements to keep them in the correct horizon-
In the USA, thick ‘plastic-coated steel wire’ or        tal and vertical form. Whilst fish pots made from
‘plastic coated galvanized welded wire’ is offered      solid materials have their special forms, the netting
for traps. When using wire, especially chicken wire,    used for traps must be kept under tension by
for the construction of a fishing pot, it is generally   frames. Fyke nets are spread by rings or hoops
necessary to first make a frame of stronger mater-       (Figures 16.49 and 16.50). Poles driven into the
ial to give the trap the right form, as with some       bottom (Figure 16.49c) or spreading sticks (stick
wooden pots. But when using stiffer or more rigid       stretchers) (Figures 16.49a and 16.49b) keep the
wire mesh it may be possible to construct the fishing    fyke nets in a horizontal position. But fyke nets are
pot in any desired form without a frame just by         not always operated horizontally. In the Baltic
folding the wire mesh into the required form, as can    there have been fyke nets for turbot which were
230                                   Fish Catching Methods of the World

Figure 16.28 Different types of basket: (a) basket for eels, northern Germany; (b) box-like basket for spiny lobsters
of Florida (from Sundstrom 1957 with permission); (c) shrimp basket of the Philippines; (d) basket from Thailand with
lateral entrances; (e) house-like basket from the Gilbert Islands (from Koch 1965 with permission); (f) basket with
square meshes from Lake Chad (from Blache & Miton 1962 with permission).

Figure 16.29 Frame of a Malaysian trap, called a            Figure 16.30 Beehive fish traps in the harbour of Santa
‘bubu’, with an entrance like a slit (1978).                Cruz, Tenerife (1968).
                                                    Trapping                                                  231

Figure 16.31 Beehive fish traps in the harbour of Mar      Figure 16.33 French lobster pots in Portsall, near Brest
del Plata, Argentina. The traps are baited and set        in Brittany (1977).
according to the longline system to catch Pagrus pagrus

Figure 16.32 Small vessel (firilla) of Malta with large
bottom traps (nassi tal-arznell) which can be neither
folded nor stacked. There are two fishermen on board
the vessel! (1966).

hung by a long central leader vertically from the ice
surface (Tryborn & Wollebraek 1904). There are
hooped nets with two entrances, looking like a
drum with an entrance at each end. Known world-
wide are the conical fyke nets with at least one, but
sometimes more than ten hoops, as used by the
Danes. The first hoop can be replaced by a horse-          Figure 16.34 Australian rock lobster pots made of wood
                                                          and strong wire in Stanley, Tasmania (1981).
shoe-shaped frame or by a square one (Figure
232                                  Fish Catching Methods of the World

                                                         Figure 16.37 Korean basket for catching eels. The
                                                         valve can be separated (1972).

Figure 16.35 English ‘iron whelk pots’, so-called
because the bottoms of these pots are made from plates
of perforated iron. (Photo: Archives.)

                                                         Figure 16.38 So-called ‘Madeira trap’ made of rattan
                                                         with hexagonal plaiting.

Figure 16.36 Portuguese traps made of wood and wire      discussed in Section 16.9. Traps made of netting,
for spiny lobsters.                                      such as the conical fyke nets and the drum-like
                                                         traps, are small-scale fishing gear. This means that
                                                         they are of limited size, and that a single trap can
16.50). They have at least one funnel-shaped non-        catch only small quantities of fish. Even though
return device, sometimes three.                          most of these traps are small in size, there are some
   Fyke nets can be used alone when they replace         exceptions in which the first hoop at the entrance
wooden eel traps, and are often fixed like the long-      of the trap is as high as a person. On the other hand,
line method in a river. Often fyke nets are com-         there are also small traps made of netting, such as
bined with walls or fences. Most of them are             small fyke nets, for catching fish such as a single
combined with leaders and wings (see Figures 16.50       trout in a mountain brook (Figure 16.49b), or like
and 16.69). Their effectiveness is increased consid-     the small drum-like Italian traps, not more than
erably by such additional arrangements as will be        30 cm long, for catching Gobiidae in the lagoons of
                                                  Trapping                                                 233

                                                        Figure 16.41 Lamprey pot, operated by Maori fisher-
                                                        men in the Wanganui River in New Zealand. The fish
                                                        migrating upstream attempt to swim through the gap, but
                                                        the force of water flowing through the narrow opening
                                                        washes them back into the funnel-like opening of the
                                                        pot. (From Todd 1979 with permission.)

                                                        when conical fyke nets (which are usually stretched
Figure 16.39 Traps of the Caribbean.                    horizontally between sticks rammed into the
                                                        bottom) are stored folded together. However,
                                                        transportation of a large number of traps becomes
                                                        a big problem when bulky traps, such as pots, which
                                                        are neither collapsible nor can be folded, have to
                                                        be brought from one place to another and cannot
                                                        be stacked (Figure 16.32). Therefore progress was
                                                        made when traps made of netting with wire frames
                                                        were introduced in a collapsible form (Figure
                                                        16.52) or made of plastic (see next section) in such
                                                        a way that they could be stacked by ‘nesting’ (their
                                                        bottoms being made of netting which can be loos-
                                                        ened) such as plates or cups (Figure 16.53).
                                                           There have been many transitional stages
                                                        between wooden pots and those made of netting.
Figure 16.40 Longline technique for operating shrimp
baskets off Majorca. (From Massuti 1967 with            In order to decrease the weight of wooden pots, the
permission.)                                            heavy part of the wooden frame was made as small
                                                        as possible and covered with netting or chicken
Venice (Figure 16.51). Both traps have spreading           Also the wooden frame was replaced by steel or
sticks and a single valve only.                         even plastic tubes (Figure 16.54). Many traps used
   Commercial fisheries need a very large number         for catching crustaceans, and also fish, are made
of small traps if their operation is to be economi-     in this manner – like narrow rectangular boxes
cally viable. To catch Gobiidae, for example, vessels   with steel frames covered by wire or fibre netting.
operate about 200 traps. Transportation may not be      The small lobster pots used by the fishermen of
a problem when the traps are small and if they col-     Heligoland are made in this way (Figure 16.55). The
lapse when the spreading sticks are removed, or         traps of the fishermen of South Africa for catching
234                                 Fish Catching Methods of the World

                                                        Figure 16.43 Wire trap with a broad and high entrance.

Figure 16.42 Egg-shaped basket for pelagic fishing
near Malta. (From von Brandt 1966 with permission.)

                                                        Figure 16.44 Swiss traps made of wire with elastic rods
                                                        in the funnel, used in Lake Geneva.

                                                        rock lobsters in the southern Atlantic, e.g. on
                                                        seamount Vema, are also constructed like this; as
                                                        are those for rock lobsters in New Zealand (Figure
                                                        16.56). Here also a similar type is used to catch blue
                                                        cod (Parapercis colias). Large traps of this type are
                                                        operated to catch king crab in the northern Pacific
                                                        Ocean (Figure 16.57).
                                                          In this connection, the so-called ‘creels’ of the
                                                        British fishermen have to be mentioned (Thomas
Figure 16.45 Wire baskets of a man’s height in Kuwait   1973; Edwards 1978). These creels are longer than
                                                        they are broad, with a strong frame and a ‘U’-
                                                     Trapping                                                   235

                                                           Figure 16.48 Trap formed of wire mesh without any
                                                           frame. Lagune Aby, Ivory Coast (1971).

Figure 16.46 Round Greek wire trap camouflaged with
seaweed before setting.

                                                           Figure 16.49 Hooped nets and fyke nets: (a) hooped
                                                           net with two entrances and spreading sticks; (b) fyke net
                                                           with spreading sticks; (c) fyke net with wings.
Figure 16.47 French shrimp traps in Guilvinec, Brittany,
with stiff PE netting (1977).
                                                           bouring countries. The Scottish types are consid-
                                                           ered the smallest. Small creels are recommended as
shaped cross-section (Figures 16.58 and 16.59). The        being more economic in lobster fishing. Mostly they
frame can be made of wood, iron or plastic. This           are operated not singly but in the longline system
frame is then covered with strong netting, formerly        as explained before. Creels are said to be operated
tarred cotton but now synthetic twine or plastic-          in fleets. Single creels, used in shallow waters, can
coated wire lattice. Mostly these pots have two            be set more carefully and bring higher yields per
entrances, one on each of the longer sides (Figure         trap. On the other hand, fleets with more traps set
16.58). The size of these creels varies greatly in the     in deeper water can bring higher total yields
different fishing areas of Great Britain and neigh-         (Thomas 1973).
236                                  Fish Catching Methods of the World

Figure 16.50 Fyke nets with two funnels, four rings and a central leading net. The first ring is horseshoe-shaped.

                                                           sisting of eight or ten moulded sections with an
16.7 Plastic pots                                          easily removable conical entrance for ease of trans-
As far as is known, the first plastic traps were made       port (Figure 16.62) (Rubio 1968). In north-western
for sport fishermen wanting light transportable and         Europe, plastic eel traps found a wide distribution
collapsible traps to replace, to some extent, the          (Klust 1969). They were constructed so that they
glass bottles with pierced bottoms traditionally           could be put together from six or more parts,
used for catching bait fish (Figure 16.60a).Although        moulded separately. One well-known type has
interesting for sport fishermen, plastic traps are too      metal rods for weight on the lower side, and a cover
expensive for commercial fisheries which in general         on the upper side (Figures 16.62 and 16.63). The
need larger traps in greater quantities and at a           principle of this trap is not to filter the eel out of
lower price.                                               the current or to guide the migrating fish into the
  The first plastic traps to be introduced into com-        trap by wings or guide lines, but to offer a shelter
mercial fisheries were eel traps (Figure 16.61)             which will be voluntarily accepted by the eel.There-
(Mohr 1964). The construction of the trap itself was       fore, this trap with two valves can be considered
not changed. To mould complete traps of high               more as a tube for shelter (Chapter 14).
density PE, as wanted by commercial fishermen,                 Simpler than the eel traps mentioned before and
can be economical only when large quantities are           more like the original eel pots used by German
produced. Therefore, plastic traps have been made          river fishermen is another modern plastic pot
especially for catching crustaceans and eels in com-       (Figure 16.64).The trap has two valves and a closing
mercial fisheries. Here the Norwegian lobster pots          cap at the narrow end, which is removed to get the
without netting have to be mentioned. They consist         catch. This trap is operated on the longline system
of two parts which nest very easily in each other.         as are many other traps in commercial fisheries.
Others can be dismantled for easy transportation.             Plastic traps have good stability, can be operated
The Spanish have made large beehive fish pots con-          for a long time with little maintenance, and rarely
                                                   Trapping                                                    237

Figure 16.51 Small traps with spreading sticks, near
Venice (1975).
                                                         Figure 16.52 Foldable Japanese trap: above, ready for
                                                         the catch; below, folded for transportation. Japan (1972).

                                                         need repairing. They are easy to handle and need
                                                         little effort to operate (Kuhn 1976). Plastic traps,
                                                         like those made of wire, also have a high resistance
                                                         to damage caused by crabs such as the Chinese
                                                         mitten crab (Eriocheier sinensis) and other gnawing
                                                         water animals which destroy netting. Traps made
                                                         with a frame of welded tubular polythene and
                                                         covered with a netting made of synthetic fibre are
                                                         often called ‘all plastic pots’. These are special
                                                         round pots for catching crustaceans (Figure 16.65)
                                                         but are similar in operation to the British creels
                                                         (Figures 16.58 and 16.59) (Edwards 1978).

                                                         16.8 Ghost traps
Figure 16.53 Stackable Japanese traps for crab fishing,   All traps have the advantage that the prey caught
Banba, Kanakawa-ken, Japan (1978).
                                                         remains alive for some time, and therefore the catch
238                                  Fish Catching Methods of the World

Figure 16.54 Lobster trap. Hermanus, South Africa

                                                         Figure 16.56 Hauling a rock-lobster pot near Akaroa,
                                                         New Zealand. To prevent the prey escaping, long spines
                                                         are welded around the entrance of the trap. The arrow
                                                         shows the escape vent on the back of the trap (1981).

Figure 16.55 Lobster trap of Heligoland, Germany.

is generally of good quality, it being taken for
granted that the traps are inspected at regular in-
tervals. When they cannot be lifted owing to bad
weather conditions, or when they are lost and
cannot be found, they may continue to catch for a
month before they deteriorate enough to cease
fishing. In such cases people speak of ‘ghost fishing’.
This is defined as the ability of a fishing gear to con-   Figure 16.57 King crab pot for Alaskan waters, Seattle.
                                                         (Photo: J. Schärfe, 1968.)
tinue fishing after all control of the gear has been
                                                  Trapping                                                   239

                                                        Figure 16.60 Transparent traps for catching bait fish for
                                                        sport fishermen: (a) glass bottle with bottom section
                                                        removed; (b) French bait trap, made of plastic, which
Figure 16.58 Frame of an English creel with two         can be telescoped; (c) transparent trap from Switzerland
entrances.                                              which can be folded.

Figure 16.59 Creel with one entrance only, Portna-
cross, Ireland (1956).

                                                        Figure 16.61 German eel trap made of plastic accord-
                                                        ing to master fisherman H. Köthke: (a) upperside with a
lost by the fisherman (Smolowitz 1978). It will be       plate for shelter; (b) underside with two iron sticks for
seen later on, in Chapter 19, that there are not only   weighting. (Photo: G. Klust.)
traps but also gillnets which can continue to catch
as ghost nets.
   Ghost traps became a special problem in the          operated in waters with strong currents or where
crustacean fishery following the introduction of         wave motion reaches the seabed. In this situation,
non-rotting synthetic net materials. Many pots can      the higher traps fall over and will roll, winding up
be lost in stormy weather and by entanglement of        their lines with the floats so that they cannot be
the lines in rocky grounds. This is especially possi-   found again. This is why the beehive lobster pots
ble when traps of light material, higher than they      formerly used around Heligoland have been
are broad and therefore with a low stability, are       replaced by a boxlike trap with lower weight but a
240                                  Fish Catching Methods of the World

broader base (Figure 16.55). Nevertheless, the loss       prevent continuous fishing by lost traps. In traps
of traps cannot be prevented completely. King crab        made of stable frames covered with synthetic
fishermen of Alaska estimated their annual pot             netting, the interior netting yarn is made of natural
losses in the 1980s at about 10%. The crustaceans         fibres. When this material rots, after a short time,
caught in lost pots can injure each other by canni-       the catching room of the trap collapses and crabs
balism and, having no chance to escape, they finally       can no longer be caught by this gear. This method
die. Their carcases then act as bait for other crus-      is also decreed by law for bottom fishing pots in the
taceans. In other words, the lost pots are self-baiting   State of Washington in the USA.
death traps which continue to catch for several              A better means of preventing ghost trapping has
years and could be responsible for higher mortality       been found by using pots with escape vents
and reduced yield of a crab resource. Therefore,          (Smolowitz 1978). The escape vents are made in
efforts have been made by different methods, to           such a manner that they allow lobsters under the
                                                          legal minimum size to escape (Figure 16.56). This
                                                          may decrease ghost fishing mortality but does not
                                                          solve the overall problem. This perhaps can be
                                                          achieved by another proposal – to design the
                                                          opening into the pot so as to allow any prey to
                                                          escape after a specified time. In this case the
                                                          opening is made as a hinged door with a time-
                                                          release mechanism combined with the legal escape
                                                          vent mentioned before. The release mechanism can
                                                          be a door kept closed by a latch made of degrad-
                                                          able material which will rot in a short time (Blott

                                                          16.9 Trap systems, weirs and
                                                          pound nets
                                                          As with other fishing gear, attempts have been
                                                          made to increase the efficiency of fish traps, espe-
Figure 16.62 Detachable plastic beehive trap, Costa
Brava, Spain.                                             cially those made of netting. This has been tried in
                                                          many different ways, not only by improved con-

Figure 16.63 Hauling a plastic eel trap on the River Weser (1963).
                                               Trapping                                               241

                                                     Figure 16.66 Traps made of fences can be very large
                                                     like this one from Kampuchea, with leaders, catching
                                                     chamber with non-return devices as slits, and a large
                                                     chamber (below) to keep the catch. (From Fily &
                                                     d’Aubertin 1965 with permission.)

Figure 16.64 Plastic eel trap. (Courtesy of Nord-    struction and use of better materials, but also by
deutsche Seekabelwerke AG, 1979.)                    increasing the size of single traps and by combining
                                                     many traps with catching systems supported by
                                                     leading arrangements such as the so-called wings
                                                     and leaders. As has been shown before, the increase
                                                     in size of three-dimensional traps made of wood,
                                                     wire or plastic, or of netting held by hoops and
                                                     frames, is limited by the increase in weight and dif-
                                                     ficulty in handling. As mentioned earlier, in the
                                                     eastern Baltic there were hooped nets made of
                                                     netting with rings taller than a person, but with
                                                     their increasing size, their handling became increas-
                                                     ingly inconvenient and labour intensive. In contrast
                                                     to three-dimensional traps, the two-dimensional
                                                     ones, made of fences of different materials and
                                                     fitted out with non-return devices in the form of
                                                     slits or steps, can be enlarged in a theoretically
                                                     unlimited manner (Figures 16.66–16.68). It is
                                                     helpful if the catching room is fitted with bottom
                                                     netting which can be lifted to get at the caught fish.
                                                        An indirect enlargement of a trap can be made
                                                     by its combination with leaders and wings, espe-
                                                     cially when these end in other traps of the same size
Figure 16.65 French lobster pot with frame made of   (Figures 16.69a,e) or smaller (Figure 16.69b). By
plastic, Audierne, Brittany (1977).
                                                     this method, very effective trapping systems can be
242                                    Fish Catching Methods of the World

                                                             with one or more open catching chambers before
                                                             its entrance (Figure 16.70). These additional cham-
                                                             bers can be so extensive that the original traps, pots
                                                             or fyke nets with funnel-like entrances, appear as
                                                             small appendices only (Figures 16.71 and 16.72). In
                                                             the drawing to scale of a Danish ‘bundgarn’ (Figure
                                                             16.71), the two fyke nets are difficult to see, but
                                                             their length can be >10 m, which demonstrates just
                                                             how large the additional catching chambers are.
                                                             The advantage of this combination is that the catch
                                                             can be obtained by hauling the genuine traps only.
                                                             It is no longer necessary to catch the fish in the
                                                             additional chambers with other gear, or by lifting
                                                             the bottom netting if there is any, or by driving the
                                                             fish into a corner for scooping, as is still necessary
                                                             with some large traps when catching bulk fish.
                                                                Such large catching arrangements with big col-
                                                             lecting chambers are called weirs if made of non-
                                                             textile material or pound nets if they are made of
                                                             netting. Weirs made of wickerwork or mats, as used
                                                             on all the coasts of Asia, North America and in
                                                             several parts of North Europe, might be of greater
                                                             importance for a bulk fishery than the small pots
                                                             and fyke nets. Figures 15.29 and 16.67 show some
                                                             examples of weirs. It has already been mentioned
                                                             in Chapter 15, that sometimes the entrances of suc-
                                                             cessive chambers gradually decrease in size, so that
                                                             they can be considered as non-return devices in the
                                                             form of slits which can be passed in one direction
Figure 16.67 In this large bamboo weir of the Philip-        only. Figure 15.30a shows a weir operated in Thai-
pines a slit, as a non-returning device (see above), gives   land with interesting leaders consisting of waving
entrance to the catching room from which the catch is        rods pushed singly in a row into the bottom. These
secured with scoop nets at low tide (see below) (1960).      guide the fish through a slit into spacious catching
                                                             chambers. It is not difficult for a fish to swim
built, like the double fyke nets (Figure 16.69a),            through the leading sticks, but it will not do so
which can be combined in rows some hundreds of               unless it has been frightened. The swinging motion
metres long (unfortunately, sometimes named in a             of the stems is considered to be the explanation of
misleading manner ‘trawls’ by the Americans). Also           their obedience (Westenberg 1953). From the weir,
popular are the combined single traps (Figure                the fish can be taken or caught by other fishing gear,
16.69d), as well as the combination of many traps            once the encircling room has been narrowed.
set in a zigzag line as a barrier (Figure 16.69e) off           Wooden weirs are being increasingly replaced by
sea shores and in large lakes. In such cases, the con-       pound nets made of netting (Figure 16.73). These
struction of a single trap in the form of a fyke net         can be arrangements with a sophisticated system of
with one or more funnel-like entrances remains               wings and leaders, and with step and ramp as non-
unchanged.                                                   return devices. Also, in this case the leaders need
   To increase the effectiveness of a trap, its con-         not be very dense. Even nets with large meshes,
struction can be altered by combining a three-               through which the fish may easily swim, actually do
dimensional trap (a completely closed one) with a            have a guiding effect. This applies, too, even to the
two-dimensional one (open at the top). In other              stretched ropes or twines which are sometimes used
words, a closed trap is enlarged by its combination          for leaders instead of netting. It is believed that the
                                                  Trapping                                                243

Figure 16.68 Japanese pound net for sardines. (From NN 1959 with permission.)

vibrations of the lines prevent the fish from cross-     called ‘floating salmon trap’ (Figures 16.76 and
ing the leader and swimming away, and thus induce       16.77).
them to keep within the bounds desired. Examples           It seems that there is some tendency to replace
are known from the herring fishery and the fishery        large pound nets, made of netting and held by
in the River Ob in Russia (Baranov 1976). For the       stakes, by anchored and floating ones. Anchored
same reason, air-bubble curtains have been used to      pound nets are considered to have a higher elastic-
contain fish and to direct them into traps (NN           ity and, consequently, greater resistance to the influ-
1959–65; Smith 1961). Here, in contrast to large        ences of bad weather (Tesch & Greenwood 1977;
meshed netting and the rows of lines or rods men-       Gabriel & Schmidt 1986). Anchored traps are
tioned before, the guiding effect is an optical one     known even in large lakes. In the Great Lakes
and, to some extent, also an acoustic one. The          region of North America, anchored deep-water
bottom of the catching area of the pound nets is        traps are used. It is a curious thing that the same
made of netting which can be lifted so that it is       type of anchored trap is known in Lake Constance
easier to collect the catch, as with the watched tuna   between southern Germany, Switzerland and
trap mentioned in Chapter 15. Large quantities of       Austria. The local name is ‘trapnet’ (mistakenly
salmon and tuna, as well as herring, sardines, cod      written ‘Trappnetz’) and most people do not know
and other bulk fish may be caught with pound nets.       that this is a simple English word used by the fish-
   The large pound nets are set by stretching them      ermen who imported this gear at the beginning of
between stakes driven into the bottom (Figures          the last century from the Great Lakes. These traps
16.73–16.75). When the water is too deep, or            are also still used in the 21st century, but monofila-
the ground too hard, the traps are anchored (Figure     ment netting is forbidden (pers. comm. 2000).
16.68). The Alaska salmon trap is an example of            Pound nets can be among the largest of all fishing
an anchored trap. This is why this gear is also         gears and are known in many different forms. The
                                                            Figure 16.71 Danish ‘bundgarn’ with small fyke nets on
                                                            the Baltic coast. (From Klust 1965 with permission.)

Figure 16.69 Arrangements for fyke nets with leaders
and wings: (a) double net; (b) cross net; (c) hook net;
(d) fyke net weir; (e) scissor net.

                                                            Figure 16.72 Japanese anchored pound net with three
                                                            conical fyke nets for catching shrimp. (From Shigueno
                                                            1974 with permission.)

Figure 16.70 Old herring weir of Kappeln on the River
Schlei, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. Big wooden
leaders guide the herring into fyke nets made of netting.

                                                            Figure 16.73 Scottish salmon trap. A fisherman walks
                                                            on ropeways along the leading net to the catching area
                                                            in the background. (Photo: British Resin Products Ltd,
                                                     Trapping                                                 245

                                                           Figure 16.76 Salmon trap: left, floating; right, fixed on
                                                           sticks in Alaska. (From Dumont & Sundstrom 1961 and
Figure 16.74 Last part of a Scottish salmon trap. (From
                                                           Bartz 1950 with permission.)
Garner 1976 with permission.)

                                                           types of pound nets used in Japan are so numerous
                                                           that their description occupies quite a big place in
                                                           the literature dealing with Japanese fishing gear.
                                                           Also famous are the larger pound nets used by the
                                                           Americans off the Atlantic coast, as well as off the
                                                           coast of Alaska in the Pacific. Widely known too are
                                                           the Danish ‘bundgarn’, which means ‘bottom nets’,
                                                           operating in large numbers off the Baltic coast of
                                                           Sweden, Denmark and the Federal Republic of
                                                           Germany, especially for eel fishing (Figure 16.71).
                                                           As for weirs, there is also an inherent disadvantage
                                                           in the use of pound nets. This is the high purchase
                                                           cost and the need for a large crew for setting and
                                                           hauling the gear. Moreover, these large nets can be
                                                           damaged in bad weather. This may be the reason
                                                           why, in contrast to the small traps, the number of
                                                           large pound nets and weirs is decreasing in the
                                                           world. Nevertheless, some technical progress has
                                                           been made with weirs and pound nets even though
                                                           their number is decreasing (see next section). As
                                                           mentioned before, handling and maintenance of the
                                                           large traps is expensive. Even when fish worth the
                                                           money are caught, the season can be limited and
                                                           very short in relation to the long time spent in
                                                           preparing a pound net and removing it.To save time
                                                           in controlling the catch, the Japanese propose to
                                                           place acoustic implements in the pound nets to cal-
Figure 16.75 Slit-like entrance in the last chamber of a   culate the quantity of the catch from the noise
Scottish salmon trap. Montrose, Scotland (1974).
                                                           caused by the trapped fish. Ice in northern areas and
246                                  Fish Catching Methods of the World

Figure 16.77 Close-up view of a floating salmon trap in Alaska. (Courtesy of Fisheries Research Institute, Univer-
sity of Washington, 1974.)

heavy storms in tropical parts of the world can              One of the most expensive works in trapnet
damage weirs and pound nets or even destroy them          fishery is the cleaning of big traps such as pound
completely. There have been some discussions              nets with several hundred metre long leaders and
about lowering the gear automatically under the           big catch chambers (cribs) after hauling and before
water surface during stormy weather. One idea was         seasonal storage. A lot of algae, mussels, weed, sand
to replace the floats by pressure tubes which could        and other pollution must be dealt with.The simplest
be blown up by compressed air or deflated as nec-          method for doing this is to use a stream of water,
essary.                                                   but washing machines with jets and a frame for
                                                          arranging the netting are much more effective (NN
16.10 Mechanization in trapping                              Traditional trapnets are emptied with a small
Mechanization in trapping is important for                handnet. But this manual method is expensive, hard
increased effectiveness, and can be used in setting,      work and also restricts the amount of fish per unit
hauling, cleaning and maintenance of gear, and also       time. Therefore in connection with big herring
harvesting the catch.                                     catches, larger vessels (cutters) for emptying and
  For large traps held by stakes, the vessels can         the opportunity for transporting the fish in a towed
have special pole-drivers replacing hand-operated         delivery codend to a big processing vessel with a
devices for setting them (Figure 16.78). This work        stern ramp, a much more effective technology was
can also be supported by arrangements for washing         developed during the German Rügen spring
out a hole in the bottom before setting the stake         herring season (Gabriel & Schmidt 1986). This
(Bacalbasa 1965).
          ¸                                               technology starts with the concentrating of herring
                                                   Trapping                                                247

                                                         into the crib. The fish/water mixture is pumped into
                     Devil (Pig)                         the separator, which guides the fish into the boat
                                                         and the water into the sea. Power for the pump can
                 Driver frame                            be taken either from an auxiliary engine, or
                                                         hydraulically from the main engine of the boat. The
                Shears                                   maximum power needed is 4–7 kW. Fish weighing
                                                         up to 1 kg can be pumped from the crib without sus-
                                                         taining any noteworthy damage. The pump can be
                                                         handled by one person. It saves manpower and
 Scow                                                    makes the emptying of a pound net faster, easier
                                                         and cleaner than handnet emptying (Suuronen &
                                                         Parmanne 1984) (Figure 16.80).
                                                            Smaller traps, especially three-dimensional ones
                                                         for catching crustaceans and high-priced fish, have
                                                         always been singled out for improvement, though
                                                         more in sea fisheries than in fresh waters. The trend
                                                         to increase the number of set traps and to fish in
                                                         deeper water can be hampered by the need for
                                                         more labour to operate them, which is costly. In
                                                         commercial fisheries, small or large pots are set, as
                                                         far as possible, not singly, but on the longline
                                                         system. That means many pots are tied, with branch
                                                         lines at intervals, on a main line (Figure 16.40). To
                                                         haul the pots with the main line, anchor and buoy
                                                         lines needs a lot of manpower. Even though some
                                                         fishermen continue to avoid special pot haulers
Figure 16.78 Weir stake driver. (From New Foundland
Student Handout 2000.)                                   powered by hydraulic motors, and continue to use
                                                         a general purpose hauler, such as a capstan
                                                         (Burgess 1973), for fishing in depths of up to 2000
                                                         m, special hauling machines cannot be avoided.
                                                         They not only save manpower but also simplify pot
in the crib by lifting the net with two small boats at   line fishing by reducing the manual labour of
each side, following by shooting the fish through a       hauling miles of incoming ground lines and heavy
funnel at the end of the crib into the delivery          anchor and buoy lines. They are especially neces-
codend, separating this from the funnel and towing       sary with the heavier pots such as those used for
it to the processing vessel or another place for         king crabs (Figure 16.57).
further handling (Figure 16.79). Another more               With the help of advanced high-speed hydraulic
widely used method is the use of pumps (Figure           winches and new over-the-side handling tech-
16.80). Suction pumps for emptying pound nets            niques, pots can be operated in a much shorter time
have been used for instance in the herring trapnet       than before. This also means that an economic
fishery off the coast of Finland since the mid-1970s.     number of pots can be retrieved, hauled, re-baited
These pumps are centrifugal type screw-pumps,            and reset in deeper water, faster than ever before.
placed either directly on the deck, or inside the        It is estimated that, by using longline techniques for
forecastle of the boat. Their capacity is up to          handling pots with high-speed winches, up to
2000 kg mixed fish and water per minute. The frac-        300 pots per day could be successfully fished in
tion of fish in this mixture is a quarter to one-fifth.    water depths exceeding 200 fathoms (Wilimovsky
The basic system consists of a pump, suction hose        & Alverson 1971). Different types of haulers or pot
and fish/water separator. In operation, the boat is       line coilers are used, some davit-mounted. An
brought alongside the crib, the fish are forced into      example of a universal pot and trap hauler is shown
a corner of the crib, and the suction hose is lowered    in Figure 16.81. Hauling can be stopped automati-
248                                   Fish Catching Methods of the World

Figure 16.79 Technology for empty-
ing a herring pound net with two
small boats and a cutter: (a) con-
centrating the fish at the pound net
and shooting into a transport
codend; (b) hauling the codend on
board a processing vessel. (Drawing
from Kuhlmann after Gabriel &
Schmidt 1986 with permission.)

cally when the strop meets the hauler with the pot        also swings them on board. By this means a small
alongside. A light and portable creel hauler driven       boat can be operated by only one person: generally
by an outboard motor is available especially for          at least two are needed. Of interest also may be a
small-boat fishing. Hydraulically-driven haulers are       Japanese development which has the hauling
mostly in use but have modified mechanically-              device mounted in such a manner that it can be
driven differential assemblies. Practically all           used anywhere on the boat (Figure 16.82). As men-
haulers are driven from the main engine but occa-         tioned before, sometimes the pots have to be set
sionally, on larger boats, an auxiliary engine is used.   singly at favourable sites. To find these places in
Another labour-saving device for operating pots is        lakes or along the seashore, echo-sounders can be
an arrangement which not only hauls the pots but          used, as in the rock lobster fishery of New Zealand.
                                                   Trapping                                                    249

                                                                            Figure 16.80 Pumping the fish from
                                                                            a pound net on board a boat. The
                                                                            water is separated outside by means
                                                                            of a simple wooden separator.
                                                                            (Photo: P. Suuronen.)

                                                         4 mm mainline at distances of c. 40 m. Owing to the
                                                         capacity of 8000 m mainline on each drum with
                                                         four drums, >30 km of the fishing ground can be
                                                         covered. The shooting of mainline can be carried
                                                         out with a maximum speed of about 4.5 kns,
                                                         because 10 m mainline with other colour and knots
                                                         at each end between the distances of 40 m enable a
                                                         clipping time of about 5 s. This is enough to fix the
                                                         crowfoot snap of the trap-box which is placed on a
                                                         shooting table to the mainline and to support the
                                                         guiding of it into the sea by a short push with one
                                                         hand. During hauling with a speed of about 3 m/s,
                                                         a short stop enables snapping off from the crow-
                                                         foot, taking the box on board for removal of the
                                                         caught eel, their cleaning and storage. Before mech-
                                                         anization only about 300 traps per day could be
Figure 16.81 Universal hauler for pot and trap fishery.   handled by two fishermen.
(Redrawn after catalogue Igelfors Co.)

                                                         Anell, B. (1960) Hunting and trapping methods in
A very convincing example for mechanization in             Australia and Oceania. In: Studia Ethnographica
trapping is the use of setting and hauling machines        Upsaliensia Vol. XVIII. Lund.
in the Netherlands eel fishery with small wooden                                     ˘
                                                         Antipa, G.R. (1916) Pesca ria si Pescuitul in România.
traps in the Ijssel Sea (see Figure 16.24). On the         Bucharest [in Rumanian].
                                                         Bacalbasa, N. (1965) Cors de tehnica pescuitului. Pescuitul
special boats of about 17 m long with a two-man
                                                           ind, Bucharest [in Rumanian].
crew and a big deck area, up to 750 traps per day                  ¸
                                                         Bacalbasa, N. & Pectu, A. (1970) Pescuitul cu vîrsele în
can be handled (Gabriel 1998). The traps are fixed                                                                 ˇ
                                                           zona viitorului lac de acumulare ‘Portile Fier’. Lucrarı
by means of a crowfoot snood and quick snap to a            ¸tiint
                                                           S ¸ifice IV, 419–431 [in Rumanian].
250                                      Fish Catching Methods of the World

Figure 16.82 Movable hydraulic pot hauler on a Japanese vessel in Banba, Kanagawa-ken (1978).

Baranov, F.J. (1976) Selected Works on Fishing Gear, Vol.      Dumont, H. & Sundstrom, G.T. (1961) Commercial
  1 [translated from Russian]. Israel Program for                 fishing gear of the United States. Fish and Wildlife
  Scientific Translations, Jerusalem.                              Circular No. 109.
Bartz, F. (1950) Alaska. Stuttgart.                            Edwards, E. (1978) The Edible Crab and its Fishery in
Blache, J. & Miton, F. (1962) Première Contribution à la          British Waters. Farnham.
  Connaissance de la Pêche dans le Bassin Hydro-               Fily, M. & d’Aubenton, F. (1965) Report on fisheries tech-
  graphique Logone-Chari Lac Tchad. ORSTOM, Paris.                nology in the Great Lake and the Tonle Sap. In: Report
Blott, A.J. (1978) A preliminary study of timed release           of France, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Department of
  mechanisms for lobster traps. Marine Fisheries Review           Technical Co-operation, National Museum of Natural
  40, (5–6), 44–49.                                               History. Paris.
Bobzin, W. & Finnern, D. (1975) Vollmatrose der                Gabriel, O. & Schmidt, K.-H. (1986) Development and
  Hochseefischerei: Fangtechnik. Berlin.                           operation of anchored pound nets at the Baltic coast of
von Brandt, A. (1966) Die Fischerei der Maltesischen              GDR. ICES C.M./B:23.
  Inseln. Protokolle zur Fischereitechnik 10, 166–212.         Gabriel, O. (1998) Mechanische Aalfallenfischerei in
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  Swamps; a Study of Fishing Activities of the Unga Tribe.        121.
  The Rhodes–Livingstone Papers No. 12. Rhodes–                Garau, V.-F. (1909) Traité de Pêche Maritime Pratique
  Livingstone Institute, Livingstone, Zambia.                     Illustré et des Industries Secondaires en Algerie. Algir.
Burgess, J. (1973) Shellfish Trapping. Bridport.                Garner, J. (1976) Sweepnets for salmon catching. Fish.
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  and Wales. Fishery Investigations Ser. II, Vol. 21, No. 8.   Hickling, F.C. (1961) Tropical Inland Fisheries.
De Angelis, R. (1959) Fishing installations in saline             London.
  lagoons. GFCM Studies and Reviews, No. 7.                    Hornell, J.S. (1950) Fishing in Many Waters. Cambridge.
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  lands. EIFAC Technical Paper 14,119–121.                        methods. Australian Fisheries Paper No. 7 (revised).
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Klust, G. (1965) Bundgarn. In: FAO Catalogue of Fishing      NN (2000) Student Handout. New Foundland Fisheries
  Gear Designs. Rome.                                          Management Branch.
Klust, G. (1969) Zur Aalreusenfischerei in grossen Fliess-    Rubió, M. (1968) Pescas con paradas con nasas de
  gewässern. Allgemeine Fischerei-Zeitung 10, 319–323.         plastico y de junco. In: Publicaciones Tecnicas de
Koch, G. (1965) Materielle Kultur der Gilbert-Inseln.          la Junta de Estudios de Pesca No. 7. Madrid [in
  Veroeffentlichungen des Museums für Völkerkunde,             Spanish].
  NF 6. Berlin.                                              Shigueno, K. (1974) Shrimp Culture in Japan. Tokyo.
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  Inseln. Veroeffentlichungen des Museums für Völ-             nischugrischen Völkern. Helsingfors.
  kerkunde, Berlin NF 21. Berlin.                            Smith, K.A. (1961) Air curtain fishing for Maine sardines.
Kuhn, G. (1976) Die Fischerei im Oberrhein. In: Hohen-         Commercial Fisheries Review 23(3).
  heimer Arbeiten 83, Agraroekonomie. Stuttgart.             Smolowitz, R.J. (ed.) (1978) Lobster, Homarus ameri-
Lane, F.W. (1960) Kingdom of the Octopus. New York.            canus, trap designs and ghost fishing. Marine Fisheries
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  Investigatiomes Pesqueros, Cuba, Contribucion No. 15       Tesch, F.W. & Greenwood, P.H. (1977) The Eel: Biology
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                                Fishing in the Air

‘When, during the months of August, September or                from the water, or a gliding flight of from one to
October, on beautiful nights the stars are sparkling            several seconds as in the case of the so-called flying
and the moon is pouring her milky light over the                fish. The flying fish interest and intrigue all trav-
quiet waters and the calm lakes; when you then see              ellers on the warm tropical and sub-tropical seas as
long narrow boats twinkling in the light; on board,             they suddenly see one or more fish jump from the
a man bent over his rudder and trying to manoeu-                water. At the beginning they leave traces of their
vre his boat as quietly as possible – that is a fisher-          motion on the surface of the water, but then they
man who has nailed a board to the one side of his               quickly rise clear and skim away airborne for con-
boat, from one end to the other, at an angle of 45              siderable distances. Large fan-shaped and strength-
degrees, and painted it with a bright varnish and               ened pectoral and ventral fins enable the fish to ‘fly’
who, moreover, has fixed on the opposite side of his             in this way. Strictly speaking, even for the ‘flying
boat a strip of netting of three to four feet in height         fish’ this really cannot be called a genuine flight. A
with very small meshes . . . ’                                  flight, in the true sense, can occur only if there is
                                                                specific propulsive power, such as that provided by
In this way, but in much more detail than is given              the flapping wings of a bird. That is usually not the
in this shortened translation of a much longer sen-             case with these fish. Their flight is nothing but a
tence, the French consul de Thiersant, who was sta-             glide after they have once jumped clear of the
tioned in China during the second half of the 19th              water. With the flying fish the starting, or take-off,
century, describes what are today called the ‘white             speed required is attained through quick, powerful
board catch boats’ of Asia (de Thiersant 1872). Not             wriggling movements of the tail fin. As this devel-
only he, but also many other travellers in China                ops, the body and the spread pectoral fins of the
during the previous centuries, described these boats            flying fish rise out of the water, while the tail fin is
into which the fish jumped on moonlit nights so that             still submerged. Thus the well-marked tail traces on
they only had to be collected! That fish are able to             the water’s surface show up at the beginning of the
jump out of the water is, of course, widely known.              gliding flight. The other fishes mentioned before
Some species of fish jumped more than others;                    can only jump out of the water and then fall back
some not at all. The jumping species, which can                 after a certain distance.
often be observed, include the salmonids and                       There are many reasons for fish jumping from
cyprinids, or carp-like fish, in freshwater areas, as            the water. The jump may be a single one for the
well as the grey mullets in the estuaries of the rivers         purpose of securing aerial food, such as can be seen
or the sea. On the sea coasts, there are the scom-              in the evening on any trout pond. It can also be a
broids or mackerels, and carangids or horse mack-               more or less voluntary and deliberate effort to
erels, all of which frequently jump. More famous in             escape from an enemy. On European lakes, whole
warmer seas are the different families of flying                 shoals of small minnows may sometimes jump
fishes, which got their name from their behaviour.               across the water in flight from a predatory fish, and
This jumping can be in the form of a brief jerking              in tropical areas even shoals of larger fishes may

                                               Fishing in the Air                                           253

suddenly jump out of the water to a height of 1 m
or more and fall back with the noise of a cascade.
Finally, fish jump to overcome obstacles on their
migrations. In this connection, the actions of salmon
are especially familiar, as they are able, by leaping,
to pass over high natural waterfalls and artificial
barriers on the journey to their spawning grounds
in the headwaters of rivers. It is not so well known
that some species of shrimp are also able to jump
when aroused or alarmed. They then jerk them-             Figure 17.1 Outline of a box trap for catching jumping
selves out of the water with great leaps – and this       salmon.
is especially true of some of the species of shrimps
caught on the southern Asiatic coasts.
   It is also not so well known that some small squid
are named ‘flying squids’ because they can shoot
out of the water and glide through the air for con-       prevent grey mullet from jumping over the nets
siderable distances (Lane 1960). But as far as is         (Russel & Yonge 1949).
known, no attempts have been made to catch flying
squids for commercial purposes. Also none have
been made for the true eagle rays, which can jump
                                                          17.1 Salmon traps
and glide through the air for a short distance. As        Fishermen in many parts of the world have learned
with any jumping activity, the direction of the jump      to use the jumping habit of fish to catch them. They
cannot be changed once the jerk or jump has               have even learned how to induce the fish and
begun. Neither the jumping fish nor the shrimp, nor        shrimps to jump so that they may be caught in a
even the flying fish, can swerve away from any              trap. To catch ascending salmon, so-called salmon
obstacle while in flight as can a bird, or even a          boxes are built on their migration routes up rivers.
beetle. Knowledge of this is essential if the jumping     This is a well-known device in the salmon fisheries
activity of some species is to be used as a method        of northern Europe and in the Indian fisheries of
of catching them. These methods are known as              the New World. The salmon jump over the suppos-
‘fishing in the air’, but this description also includes   edly simple obstacle and then find themselves in a
the way the fish or other water animals are caught         box which is provided with a roof at the other end
when occasionally migrating out of water. The             so that they cannot move forward by jumping out
jumping habit of some fishes may be quite an unde-         (Figure 17.1). In the Rumha cataract of the River
sirable activity in a fishery, and so steps have to be     Windau (Yenta) near Goldingen (Kuldiga) in
taken to combat it. A net wall, too, it will be appre-    Latvia, baskets were hung in a waterfall to catch
ciated, is only an obstacle for some species of fish,      salmon and also other fish such as Abramis vimba,
as many species will attempt to avoid it either by        or zanthe. The fish tried to spring over these baskets
swimming under it or by jumping over it.To prevent        during their ascent of the river (Ligers 1953). The
this, seine nets used for catching large East Euro-       fish usually ascended in such great numbers that
pean coregonids are provided with special wide,           many salmon that did not at first successfully clear
meshed strips of netting that fold to the inner side      the obstacle fell back into the suspended deep
(Willer 1929). To catch mullet, which are especially      baskets, from which they could not escape (Figure
fond of jumping, net walls are equipped with strips       17.2). This catching arrangement, near Windau, has
of netting that float on the water’s surface towards       been known since the 17th century. The same
the fishing side, so that the nets look rather like the    method was also used in southern Sweden and in
type of fence (usually seen around a prison or some       northern Finland until 1940 (Vilkuna 1975). In
factories) which slopes inwards in the upper part in      Ireland, too, a large scoop net was often fixed below
order to make it more difficult to climb or jump           waterfalls to catch salmon (Went 1964) and the use
over from the inside to the outside. Sometimes even       of baskets in waterfalls was also formerly well
straw or sawdust is spread on the water’s surface to      known in Scotland.
254                                   Fish Catching Methods of the World

                                                           them. Several boats then set to work to scare the
                                                           fish with much noise, and drive them towards the
                                                           rows of rafts and make them jump. Then they were
                                                           caught in the straw or brushwood on the rafts
                                                           (Hornell 1950). Until the 1950s however, the raft
                                                           fishery existed only in the eastern area of the
                                                           Mediterranean, in the Black Sea, the Sea of Azov
                                                           and in the Caspian Sea. In the USSR the rafts were
                                                           considered among the most important fishing gear
                                                           for the grey mullet fishery in those seas (Nikolski
                                                           1957). On bright nights the grey mullet shoals are
                                                           encircled by large rings consisting of many rafts
                                                           (Figure 17.3) and the fish are then driven towards
Figure 17.2 Jumping salmon caught by baskets near          those rafts by much noise so that great quantities
Windau in Latvia. (From Thiel 1949 with permission.)
                                                           of fish are caught. Another centre for the fishery of
                                                           mullet with the help of rafts is India, where this
                                                           method is still practised in the rivers Ganga and
                                                           Yamuna near Allahabad. There the rafts are con-
17.2 Fishing with rafts                                    structed of plantain trunks; their surface is also
The fish that are most fond of jumping, and which           covered with twigs to prevent the escape of the
are caught today by means of aerial traps in many          jumping fish. These rafts are either moored or
parts of the world, are the grey mullets already           allowed to drift free. The fish are driven towards the
mentioned. As can be appreciated, this particular          moored rafts, but it is hoped that the free drifting
fishery must be related to the habitat of the fish.          rafts will pass in the way of jumping fishes (George
Mullet occur off the coasts of tropical and sub-           1971).
tropical lands. They live especially in the Mediter-
ranean, Indian and Pacific Oceans, but they are also
caught in the Atlantic. In the so-called raft fishery,
                                                           17.3 Boat traps
the jumping of mullet is used to catch them. Rafts,        For grey mullet, and also for other jumping fish,
floating on the water surface and casting a shadow          boats are very often used as a trap. This can be
on moonlit nights, are regarded as obstacles by the        carried out in a simple manner. In Yugoslavia a boat
sea mullet and so they attempt to jump over them.          is fixed transversely and slightly obliquely into the
As the rafts are relatively wide, extending from 1.5       shallow outlet of Lake Varna (Soljan 1956). The
to 3.5 m, the fish do not always succeed and so fall        grey mullet, as they come from the sea, attempt to
onto the floating rafts. To prevent them wriggling          jump over this obstacle and then simply fall into the
off, the edges of the rafts are bent upwards by about      boat (Figure 17.4). Anchored boats are also used in
a hand’s breadth, and brushwood and netting are            Lake Chad to catch a jumping fish (Hydrocyon
also put on them in which the fish get entangled.           brevis) descending some rivers. For this purpose
Previously, this method of fishing by raft was spread       three or four canoes are anchored across the river
over the whole Mediterranean area. The Por-                behind a wooden barrier. To prevent the fish
tuguese allowed rush rafts to float down the                jumping over the boat, screens up to 2 m high are
Mondego River, into which the grey mullet pene-            set along the length of the canoes. The fish jump
trate from the sea (Baldaque da Silva 1891–92). The        against the screens and fall into the canoes (Blache
fishermen followed with their boats to collect the          & Miton 1962) (Figure 17.5). This catching screen
fish from the rafts.                                        is a great success for catching jumping fish by boat.
   In Malta, a raft fishery was still practised until the      Another essential characteristic of the boats that
end of the 1920s. There the Maltese not only uti-          are specially equipped for catching jumping fish has
lized the shadows cast by the rafts anchored in bays       already been described at the beginning of this
or bights, but they also fitted barrier nets below the      chapter by de Thiersant (1872): a white board is
rafts to prevent the fish from swimming under               fitted to one side of the boat and this encourages
                                                Fishing in the Air                                        255

Figure 17.3 Russians fishing with floating mats in the Caspian Sea. (From NN 1951 with permission.)

Figure 17.4 Catching grey mullet with a boat in the
outlet of Lake Varna, Yugoslavia. (From Soljan 1956 with
                                                           Figure 17.5 Catching jumping fish by boat on Lake
                                                           Chad. (From Blache & Miton 1962 with permission.)
the fish to jump (Gudger 1937; Lindblom 1943)
(Figure 17.6). Each boat is manned by one fisher-
man sitting, not in the centre of the boat but more        bright board, jump to overcome the presumed
on the side of the white board, so that the boat has       obstacle. They then strike the screen and fall into
an oblique position and the white board is mostly          the boat, as mentioned for the similar system used
or entirely submerged. The fishermen row slowly in          in Lake Chad. To ensure that the fish do not jump
daylight or by night in the moonlight, or even with        out of the boat again, palm leaves, straw or brush-
torches or lanterns, not far from the beach in             wood is spread in the bottom to entangle the fish.
shallow water, where they expect to find jumping            The holding screen may also be made of coconut
fish. They then beat the water with their oars or           leaves or, to be quite modern, of wire mesh, and
bang on the boats’ sides with a rod. The fish and           they can have a pocket at the lower edge in which
shrimps, frightened by the noise, flee from the             the fish will remain hanging. Boats of this kind for
beach towards deeper water and, coming upon the            catching jumping fish are found over the whole
256                                  Fish Catching Methods of the World

Figure 17.6 Catching boat used in Thailand with a white
board to frighten jumping fish or shrimps and a screen
to prevent the prey jumping over the boat (1960).

Indo-Pacific fishing area. They are used today in the       Figure 17.7 Chinese barrier with stationary white board
Chinese fishery, Taiwan and Hong Kong included,            arrangement for catching jumping fish. (From Kasuga &
as well as in the Philippines and Indonesia, and off      Osaka 1975 with permission.)
the coast of the former Indo-China, Malaysia,
Thailand, Burma and the southern part of India. It
may be supposed that this ancient fishing technique
originated in China. The Chinese also know of a
stationary method of fishing with the white board
(Kasuga & Osaka 1975), in which the fish are
guided, with the help of fences, towards the gear,
where the boat is replaced by boxes designed to
collect the fish frightened by the white board into
jumping against the screen (Figure 17.7).
   There are many variations on ways to catch fish
springing, for any reason, voluntarily into a boat. In
Hong Kong a pair of canoes may work together side
by side, each with a white board, facing each other.
The fishermen try to bring a shoal of fish (anchovies
or grey mullet) between the two canoes so that the        Figure 17.8 ‘Kalaskas’, a catching boat of the Philip-
                                                          pines with devices to scare fish and shrimps. (From
frightened fish dart away in all directions and many       Montilla et al. 1959 with permission.)
jump into the canoes. The boards are also consid-
ered as a way of preventing the fish from escaping
under the canoes (Liu 1940). Nevertheless, there          the boat. This sweeping method is practised in the
are also boats without white boards as the fish can        Philippines and Thailand. A similar method is
be scared by a scare sweeper fitted vertically on to       reported from the South American Indian fishery,
a boat and pushed slowly through the shallow water        where the Indians wade in shallow water towing
by a wading fisherman. The scare sweeper consists          their boats after them. As they proceed, they beat
of a bamboo pole provided with a row of rattan            the water with twigs and the frightened fish begin
roots suspended like a curtain (Charemphol 1951;          to jump and many fall into the boats (Eigenmann
Roumruk & Charoen 1951) (Figure 17.8). These              & Allen 1942).
pass lightly, like a brush, over the bottom and             In a scaring method known in Kerala, South
frighten the fish and shrimps. In this case, the white     India, two canoes are needed to catch jumping
boards may be omitted and also the screen                 prawns during the night.The boats are tied together
designed to prevent the fish from jumping over             at the stern at an acute angle of about 30°. More-
                                               Fishing in the Air                                            257

                                                          Figure 17.11 Different methods of rigging the nets for
                                                          catching jumping fish in Madagascar: ‘pêche à la tente’.
                                                          (a) From Angot 1961 with permission; (b) from von
                                                          Brandt 1964 with permission.
Figure 17.9 Boats of Kerala, southern India, ready for
prawn fishing (1973).
                                                          many thus falling into the net. This method is prac-
                                                          tised by older fishermen during the night and they
                                                          are so successful that they can produce up to
                                                          200 kg of fish in a night’s fishing. It is very surpris-
                                                          ing to find that the fishermen of Madagascar used
                                                          a similar method, which is called ‘pêche à la tente’
                                                          (Petit 1930). A group of canoes with outriggers,
                                                          with netting stretched horizontally between them
                                                          and carrying vertical barrier nets in front of them,
                                                          may encircle a shoal of grey mullet (Figure 17.11).
                                                          Then, scared by noise, the fish jump into the nets or
                                                          even into the boats. This method is not operated
                                                          any more. When netting of transparent monofila-
Figure 17.10 Plan of the arrangement of two boats with    ment was introduced and used as a barrier, it was
light and frightening chain to catch jumping prawns in    found that the fish did not jump but, by attempting
Kerala, southern India.
                                                          to swim through the net, became caught by the gills.
                                                          So the fishermen found it was easier and simpler to
over, the canoes are held by a framework, made of         use the nets as gillnets and the old method was
bamboo, in a position inclining towards each other        abandoned.
(Figures 17.9 and 17.10). Inside the angle, between
the two boats, a kerosene lamp is placed to attract
the prawns. To frighten them up from the bow of
                                                          17.4 Veranda nets
the canoes, an iron chain is dragged along the            This trick of making fish jump into a trap – an aerial
ground which causes the prawns to jump out of the         trap as it has been called (Burdon 1951) – can also
water and maybe also into the boats which, by their       be achieved by stationary gear. de Thiersant (1872)
list towards each other, facilitate the landing of the    showed, in his book, a drawing of a Chinese fishing
jumping prawns into the vessels. Many other similar       gear used for securing jumping fish. In principle,
types of boat traps are known for catching jumping        this fishing arrangement resembled the boat traps
fishes. The frames spanned with hanging netting            mentioned in the former section – but without the
which are used on the Ryukyu Islands (NN 1949)            white board. A net is set in the way of migrating fish
show a transitional stage in the transfer of this         which attempt to jump over the obstacle: but this is
activity from rafts to boats. The aerial trap that they   not possible. The fish fall back into bags made of
use is towed by two boats over shallow water and          netting hanging over the water. These bags replace
the frightened fish and shrimps jump upwards,              the inside of the boat, in which the fish were
258                                    Fish Catching Methods of the World

Figure 17.12 Old Chinese installation for catching
jumping fish. (From de Thiersant 1872 with permission.)      Figure 17.14 Modern Chinese veranda net for catching
                                                            jumping fish. (From Kasuga & Osaka 1975 with

                                                            forms a vertical barrier which encourages the fish
                                                            to jump, and also an almost horizontal apron or
                                                            veranda onto which the fish fall. The barrier can be
                                                            set in a straight line or in a more or less open circle
                                                            formation. In the latter case, guiding nets are used
                                                            to direct the fish, usually mullet, into the catching
                                                            enclosure. The Italian name for this gear is
                                                            ‘saltarello’. A similar one was known in Portugal
                                                            (Baldaque da Silva 1891–92). It was set like a large
                                                            spiral but without guiding nets. Also, in the salt-
                                                            water lagoons of Egypt a stationary type of veranda
                                                            net is operated, as well as in Mauritius (Hickling
                                                            1961). It may be that the origin of the stationary
                                                            veranda net is the old freshwater fishery of China,
                                                            where this fishing method is still used today
                                                            (Kasuga & Osaka 1975). Figure 17.14 shows a
Figure 17.13 Fixed Italian veranda nets, Adriatic Sea:      newer form of this fishing method in China.
(a) from the top; (b) from the side. (From Grosskopf 1942      Many forms of fishing gear from old China spread
with permission.)                                           over southern Asia; therefore it is not surprising
                                                            that the stationary veranda net is also known in
                                                            the modern freshwater fishery of western Bengal
collected (Figure 17.12). A variation of this system        (George 1971).The Indian gear forms an open circle
is the so-called ‘veranda net’, known in the Mediter-       with guiding lines constructed by fixing water
ranean area (Figure 17.13) as well as in China,             hyacinths between the twists of a rope. Such a
former Indo-China and India, and also some parts            guiding line (refer to the scare lines discussed in
of Africa. In this method, the barrier netting and the      Chapter 21) can have a length of several hundred
collecting bags are made of the same piece of               metres.The principle of catching is as before (Figure
netting, arranged as shown in Figure 17.13. The net         17.15). In this case, the catch is mainly major carps.
                                                Fishing in the Air                                            259

                                                           areas for cichlids are surrounded by fences with the
                                                           exception of a few openings. The fish swim in, con-
                                                           centrate during the night, and try to come out in the
                                                           morning. The openings are then closed and at day-
                                                           light the fisherman enters the pool to spear and club
                                                           the fish. The fish try to escape by jumping over the
                                                           shallow fences, but they land on a rack of reed and
                                                           grass above the water level and encircling the whole
                                                           pool outside the fences (Brelsfjord 1946). It seems
                                                           that the stationary veranda net, constructed as
                                                           described, became less popular than the movable
                                                           form – operated without a boat, but like the old rafts
Figure 17.15 Indian type of veranda net for catching       mentioned earlier. In this method, a fish shoal is
carp. (From George 1971 with permission.)                  encircled by a transportable net wall, forming the
                                                           barrier which the fish tries to overcome. On the
                                                           upper edges of this vertical encircling net, horizon-
                                                           tal catching nets are fitted, held by bamboo rods
                                                           (nowadays often by closed plastic tubes) floating on
                                                           the water (Figures 17.17–17.19).These catching nets
                                                           consist of trammel nets (Chapter 20). The barrier
                                                           part and the catching part may consist of one piece
                                                           and can be set simultaneously. Alternatively they
                                                           can be separate nets, joined once they are set (von
                                                           Brandt 1960). When this is done, men in a boat
                                                           inside the circle frighten the fish by noise and, in
                                                           endeavouring to escape, the fish meet the obstacle
                                                           formed by the nets. This they try to jump over,
                                                           landing in the catching nets floating outside and
                                                           quickly becoming entangled. That type of veranda
                                                           net is familiar all over the Mediterranean, in the
                                                           eastern part as well as in the western part for catch-
Figure 17.16 Installation of veranda nets around a fish     ing grey mullet in daylight. As it is a very successful
park in the coastal lagoons of Benin. (From Welcomme       method, it has also spread into neighbouring areas.
1972 with permission.)                                     According to old prints, these nets, in former times,
                                                           have even been towed by rowing boats to increase
                                                           their effectiveness. But this can also have another
A similar method is known from Kampuchea. The              reason. As mentioned in the beginning of this
variation is only that the netting, in which the           chapter, there can be some difficulties with jumping
jumping fish will be caught, is hung at an angle of 45°     fish with seining. To prevent their escape, seine nets
above the fencing on the outside (Fily & d’Auben-          were sometimes equipped with reed trays as plat-
ton 1965). In this case, it is intended to catch jumping   forms to catch the fish when they tried to jump over
fish which try to escape some of the capture cham-          the more or less vertical netting. This method of
bers. The same intention is also the reason for using      seining was known in the Mediterranean (Hornell
such a gear in Benin (Welcomme 1972). Here, fish in         1950) and also in southern Africa (MacLaren 1958).
parks (Chapter 14) are caught trying to escape when
the shelter-giving branches of the park are removed
and the area, surrounded by fences, is gradually
                                                           17.5 Scoop nets for jumping fish
diminished (Figure 17.16). Such methods are also           The catching of jumping fish and shrimps with
known in other areas of Africa. It has been reported       these aerial traps requires a very good knowledge
that in the swamp fisheries of Zambia, spawning             of their behaviour – and a high level of technical
Figure 17.17 Part of a transportable veranda net as used in the Bay of Hera, Mitilini Island, Greece.

Figure 17.18 Greek veranda net in the Bay of Hera. Fish frightened by fishermen beating the water jump onto
the net.
                                               Fishing in the Air                                             261

Figure 17.19 View of part of the floating trammelnet, a
section of the veranda net.

development. But even greater skill is needed if
flying fish are to be caught with scoop nets directly
from the air. This is a method practised by fishery
co-operatives in Oceania (Koch 1965). At night
(without moonlight) the flying fish are encouraged
to jump by a display of torch lights. They tend to
jump towards the lights, and are then caught by
scoop nets held on long rods – > 3 m long and used        Figure 17.20 Catching flying fish by torchlight with long-
in the same way as butterfly nets. The same practice       handled scoop nets by Yami fishermen of the island of
of catching flying fish by the light of torches is also     Botel Tobago (Lan Yü) in the south of Taiwan. (From
carried out by the Yami tribe on the island of Botel      Kano & Segawa 1956 with permission.)
Tobago (Lan Yü) south-east of Taiwan (Figure
17.20). This is a co-operative fishery in which up to
ten families participate (Kano & Segawa 1956). A          tical knowledge of fishing with aerial traps, as have
large torch is held high over the heads of the crew,      the Chinese and their scholars of fishery.
who kneel on the edges of the boat, and their aim
is to catch the fish with scoop nets as they fly
through the air. This is real ‘fishing in the air’. But,
                                                          17.6 Angling in the air
as in Madagascar, this method has been replaced by        As has been shown in the previous sections, fishing
gillnets made of polypropylene. Nevertheless, torch       in the air is the interception of the prey as it falls
fishing for flying fish remains, even today, a cere-         back into the water from its jump. Catching with
mony of the Yami at the opening of the fishing             scoop nets was considered, in the last section, as
season in spring. At other places it may occasion-        real fishing in the air. There is another method
ally occur that fish, while jumping over an obstacle,      known in the modern freshwater fishery of conti-
can be caught in the air by scoop nets. Figure 17.21      nental China and this is the angling of jumping fish
reproduces such an activity from an old Japanese          (Figure 17.22). In this case, baited hooks on a long
manuscript which was found at Mya in the Archi            line are hung some distance above the water and
Prefecture. A number of fishermen are shown                the fish, jumping for the bait, hook themselves when
standing in the water, behind a barrier, with             doing so (Kasuga & Osaka 1975). Insects, shrimps
antiquely shaped scoop nets, and they are catching        and small frogs are used for bait.
jumping fish while they are in the air. This ancient          To explain this in terms of fish behaviour may be
illustration is remarkable because the Japanese           difficult. It is known that fish jump for insects near
fishermen of today do not otherwise have any prac-         the water surface, but the insects are flying and the
262                                  Fish Catching Methods of the World

Figure 17.21 Catching jumping fish with scoop nets in the Kinugawa River, Tochigi Prefecture, shown in a
Japanese manuscript from the beginning of the 19th century.

                                                         when it is wriggling, from a hook held over the

                                                         17.7 Pitfall traps for fishes
                                                         Fishing in the air, in contrast to fishing in the water,
                                                         can also mean fishing on land. That this is possible
                                                         has been explained in Chapter 2 with hand-picking
                                                         along the beach. But some fish do migrate over dry
                                                         land. We are not considering the famous eels which
                                                         are said to steal peas from the farmers’ gardens
                                                         during the night, nor the octopi which, according to
                                                         the Greek poet Oppian (about 149 to 179 AD),
Figure 17.22 Chinese longline with baited hooks          climbed during the night into the vineyards to steal
hanging some distance over the water. Fish jumping for
the bait can hook themselves. (From Kasuga & Osaka       grapes and olives from the holy tree of Athena.
1975 with permission.)                                   Nevertheless, it is known that some fish can migrate
                                                         during the night over dry land to move from one
                                                         body of water to another with a better situation.
fish may have learned to jump at the right moment         This is known in African swamp fisheries and also
to get the food out of the air. From a holy spring in    of some fish living in Asiatic rice fields (Hickling
Madagascar, strong eels can be seen taking meat in       1961). To catch fish crossing over land, fishermen in
the air from a priestess who holds it over the           Burma arrange entrapments which consist of a
surface of the water. This can be explained by learn-    barrier with a pit dug near each end, into which
ing. But what is the explanation for fish acting in a     some fish fall in trying to make their way around
very unnatural manner and taking a bait, even            (Burdon 1951). This method has also been known
                                                    Fishing in the Air                                              263

by the Chinese (de Thiersant 1872) and it seems to               Métodos de Pesca Artesanales de le República Popular
be known in other parts of the former Indo-China                 China. Instituto Nacional de Pesca, México [in
(Hickling 1961). To catch animals in pitfall traps is          Koch, G. (1965) Die materielle Kultur der Ellis-Inseln.
an old hunting technique. It may be a good example               Veröffentlichungen des Museums für Völkerkunde,
of the close relation of hunting methods and those               Berlin NF 3. Berlin.
of fishermen as mentioned in the first chapter of                Lane, F.W. (1960) Kingdom of the Octopus. New York.
this book.                                                     Ligers, Z. (1953) La Cueillette, la Chasse et la Pêche en
                                                                 Lettonie. Paris.
                                                               Lindblom, G. (1943) Fischfang mit einem weissen Brett in
                                                                 China und ähnliche Methoden aus anderen Teilen der
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   South America. Kentucky.                                      spondantes en vue de leur étude dans la Méditerrranée.
Fily, M. & d’Aubenton, F. (1965) Report on fisheries tech-        GFCM 21/1. Istanbul.
   nology in the Great Lake and the Tonle Sap. In: Report      Thiel, H. (1949) Merkwürdige Fischfanganlagen. Kosmos
   of France, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Department of         45, 481–485.
   Technical Co-operation, National Museum of Natural          de Thiersant, P.D. (1872) La Pisciculture et la Pêche en
   History. Paris.                                               Chine. Paris.
George, V.C. (1971) An account of the inland fishing gear       Vilkuna, K. (1975) Unternehmen Lachsfang. Die
   and methods of India. Central Institute of Fisheries          Geschichte der Lachsfischerei in Kemijoki. Studia
   Technologie Special Publication 1, Ernacum.                   Fennica. Review of Finnish Linguistics and Ethnology
Grosskopf, B.C. (1942) Bemerkenswerte Netzkonstruk-              No 19. Helsinki.
   tionen. Monatshefte für Fischerei 10, 151–153.              Welcomme, R.L. (1972) An evaluation of the acadja
Gudger, E.W. (1937) Fooling the fishes. Fishing with the          method of fishing as practised in the coastal lagoons of
   bateau and the white varnished board in China and             Dahomey (West Africa). Journal of Fish Biology 4,
   with similar devices in other parts of the world. Science     39–55.
   Monthly 44, 295–306.                                        Went, A.E. (1964) The pursuit of salmon in Ireland.
Hickling, F.C. (1961) Tropical Inland Fisheries. London.         Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy 63, Sect. C., No
Hornell, J. (1950) Fishing in Many Waters. Cambridge.            6, 191–244.
Kano, T. & Segawa, K. (1956) An illustrated ethnography        Willer, A. (1929) Ostpreussen, Lettland, Finnland, eine
   of Formosan aborigines.1: The Yami. Tokyo.                    fischereiliche Betrachtung. Mitteilungen des Deutschen
Kasuga & Osaka, L. (eds) (1975) Catálogo de Artes y              Seefischerei Vereins 45, 157–173.
                     Mechanical Fishing Gear:
                     Traps, Lines and Snares

A fish that is caught by any method can be regarded             trapping any fish that may have been attracted in
as having been outwitted by humans and trapped.                the meantime. (This mechanism is an old Chinese
Nevertheless, in fisheries there is a special concep-           one, better known from the so-called incense
tion of what ‘trapping’ means, in contrast to spear-           watches, by which burning fumigating sticks
ing or line fishing. A trap is a place to which the fish         release, at intervals, weights which fall audibly into
is attracted by any lure or bait (Chapter 11), and             a bowl.) The disadvantage of this system for fishing
from where escape is made more or less difficult for            is that the trap is closed whether or not there are
the victim.                                                    fish in it. A better idea is for the gear to close by a
   Simple traps have to be watched by the fisher-               special mechanism only when the prey is inside.
man as they are distinct from many other fishing                This is achieved with the mechanical traps used
gears. In the same manner hunters and fowlers use              more by hunters than by fishermen. Only those
cage-like traps which have to be closed by the                 gears in which the victim must release a mechanism
watchman when the prey has been lured inside. In               in order to be permanently caught or imprisoned
this sense, some of the hiding places used for                 can be regarded as genuine mechanical traps (Lips
fishery, such as bamboo tubes used for eel fishing               1927). An old hunting and fishing dictionary of the
(Figure 14.6) or octopus pots (Figure 14.7), can be            18th century therefore described such a trap as a
considered as simple traps, from which the prey can            ‘machine’ by means of which animals are caught
escape when not prevented from doing so by the                 (NN 1772).
fisherman. To stay and to watch a trap may mean                    Mechanical traps, in this sense, are instruments
waiting for hours and avoiding any movement, and               such as the well-known mousetrap, where the
is consequently not very popular with those who                mouse must first nibble at the cheese or bacon to
are not fishing for fun. Therefore, special mecha-              release the mechanism and cause the trap to shut.
nisms have been invented to close a trap mechani-              Such genuine traps also include fox traps and the
cally, immediately or after a lapse of time, when              box traps, both of which play a part in hunting. The
the prey has, or may have, entered the trap. Figure            possibilities of designing mechanical traps with a
18.1 shows a Chinese freshwater trap of Taiwan                 releasing mechanism are relatively limited, and
arranged in this manner. The trap is a tube-like               thus it is not surprising that both hunting and
cylinder made of bamboo screens hanging verti-                 fishing traps operate on the same general principles.
cally over the water. The fish are attracted by bait            It is essential that they allow only a single animal
under this tube. The cylindrical trap is suspended by          to be caught, because the first victim will obviously
a line fixed on the shore. Here the line is pressed             release the mechanism and so, by being caught, will
between two burning fumigating sticks protected                prevent any further animal being trapped. Other
by a small screen seen on the right side of the pho-           devices as well as traps can be combined with some
tograph. When the sticks have burnt down, the line             mechanism released by the victim to make the
will be burned through – maybe after some hours                catch. It is known in line fishing that a jerk from the
– and the cylinder, weighted with stones, falls down,          fisherman is usually needed to make the hook pen-

                              Mechanical Fishing Gear: Traps, Lines and Snares                                  265

Figure 18.1 Unattended trap from Taiwan. The tube-like bamboo screen is held over the water by a line fixed on the
shore behind the screen on the right side. The tube falls down when the line is burned through by smouldering sticks
behind the screen.

etrate the jaw of the fish. This can also be done by
a mechanism released by the fish. Therefore, lines
can be constructed and operated like a mechanical
fishing gear. Moreover, snares or nooses are
included in this group, following the custom in
grouping gear for hunting (Lips 1927). In this case,
the prey (a fish or crustacean) releases a mechanism
which tightens a loop around its body so that it is
snared or lassoed. As we will see later, in fishery the
snares are seldom tightened by the prey; this is
carried out by the watching fisherman. Neverthe-
less, for the reason mentioned above, snares oper-
ated in fishing are included in the group of
mechanical fishing gear (Lips 1927) in general, even
though there may be some justified objections. The
different types of mechanical gear, whether for
hunting or fishing, will be differentiated according
to the principles on which the mechanism is based.

18.1 Gravity traps
Gravity traps, or deadfalls, are those in which a
weight is so suspended that it is easily released by
the intruding animal, which is then killed or impris-
oned by the fall. A good example of this principle
used for fishing is the drum gravity trap of Guyana
(Figure 18.2). A weighted bamboo reed cylinder of           Figure 18.2 Drum gravity trap of Guyana. (From Lips
                                                            1927 with permission.)
large diameter is suspended in such a way that the
266                                  Fish Catching Methods of the World

suspending device is loosened as soon as a fish pulls       wood and painted like a salmon in its spawning
at the bait. The cylinder then falls down and covers       colours, can be seen. Figure 18.4 is a similar con-
the fish. An identical method is used in the delta of       struction used for huchen in the Danube in Austria
the Niger in West Africa (Hickling 1961).                  today (Bruschek 1962).
   The releasing power of a trap may be supplied by           A small spring-shutter trap is still widely used in
a spring or a stretched elastic tape. Fish traps which     Scandinavia and Finland for pike fishing (Figure
have a spring shutter belong to a group which              18.5a), even though prohibited. A small fish is fitted
scarcely differs from various metal hunting traps.         as bait to a horizontal hook. As soon as the pike
There is, however, in the fish trap, usually a bagnet       bites the hook, the spring is released and a sharp
so that the fish, once the trap has gone off, is con-       spike falls down on the head of the pike, killing it
fined in a closed netting bag and not, as with traps        or at least gripping it. Several of these mechanized
used for beasts of prey, between toothed jaws. Such        hooks are also used in the form of longlines by com-
catching devices are used in the European river            mercial fishermen in the eastern part of the Baltic
fisheries, e.g. for salmon in the River Rhine and for       and around the islands of Öland and Gotland
huchen in the Danube. Figure 18.3 shows a salmon           (Figure 18.6) (Kaulin 1969). Similar instruments
trap from the upper Rhine that was used until the          were also used in France for pike (Figure 18.5b)
1950s (Contag 1957). It was mentioned in Chapter           (Gourret 1934).
11 that captive living salmon, or dummies, are
sometimes tied to longlines near traps to attract
other salmon. At first, female salmon were used as
                                                           18.2 Box traps
bait fish and they attracted males ready for spawn-         Box traps also operate on the gravity principle. A
ing. Also, as soon as there was a spawning hole,           mechanism is released by the fish as it enters the
male animals, or dummies, were used to attract             trap, and that causes the door to fall down and close
other male salmon who then sought to fight their            the exit. The group includes traps used in the fish-
supposed competitors – only to become caught in            eries of south-east Asia, the Philippines, Indonesia,
the trap. In Figure 18.3 such a dummy, made of             Laos and Burma (Gruvel 1925; Hornell 1950; Umali

Figure 18.3 Salmon trap from the upper Rhine with an artificial bait in the form of a wooden fish.
                             Mechanical Fishing Gear: Traps, Lines and Snares                               267

                                                        Figure 18.6 Longline with spring-shutter traps for pike
                                                        from Gotland Island. (From Kaulin 1969 with permission.)

Figure 18.4 Huchen (Danube salmon) trap from the
River Danube. (Photo: Bruschek.)

                                                        Figure 18.7 Fish trap of Indonesia. (Photo: Ethno-
                                                        graphical Museum, Leiden.)

Figure 18.5 Spring-shutter traps for pike fishing: (a)
from Sweden; (b) from France. (From Gourret 1934 with   anism is released which closes the door of the
permission.)                                            trap (Figure 18.7). On the Ivory Coast, sea cows
                                                        (Trichechus) are caught with box traps (Briet 1961).
1950). These traps are ingeniously manufactured in      The group of box traps in which the closing of the
the form of bamboo cages or baskets produced by         door is activated by the animal being caught also
partly splitting a bamboo reed. A bait is suspended     includes a newer octopus pot from Japan (Figure
in the trap and when a fish takes the bait, a mech-      18.8). In Chapter 14 octopus pots were mentioned
268                                   Fish Catching Methods of the World

                                                           Figure 18.9 An automatic fishing line of Central Java.
                                                           (From Thienemann 1951 with permission.)
Figure 18.8 Japanese octopus trap with a mechanical
door which is closed by a rubber tape.
                                                           and hook reach into the water. The cast is fastened
                                                           or clasped so that the hook lies free. But as soon as
as artificial hiding places. As described, these had        the fish takes the bait, the holding device at the cast
the drawback that the octopus was able to leave            is released, the fishing rod springs up and effectively
the pot and escape, even as the pot was being              hooks the fish by a quick strike which, otherwise,
hauled. The mechanical octopus pots have a semi-           the fisherman operating a handline would have to
cylindrical form, are made of cement, and are              do himself. This system has the great merit that the
equipped with a lid. To prevent escape, the circular       hooked fish is held out of the water, clear of preda-
door is closed by an elastic tape as soon as the           tors. Figure 18.9 shows a simple arrangement of this
octopus touches the bait, which causes a trigger to        kind from central Java (Thienemann 1951).The cast
be released. By this device, the originally simple         used here is a piece of rattan with natural barbs.
hiding place has been developed into a mechanical          These are hooked on to water plants, etc., and so
trap. As a consequence, yields have increased so           keep the rod bent. If a fish bites, the rattan hooks
extraordinarily that this very effective gear has had      are loosened and the fish is tossed from the water
to be prohibited in most areas.                            by means of the fishing rod jumping back into its
                                                           straight position. There are many ways of keeping
                                                           a fishing rod in a bent position until the fish has
18.3 Whippy bough or spring traps                          released the mechanism by taking the hook. Some
Besides the gravity principle, there are, however,         of these mechanisms are placed under water. It may
still other principles of power that are used for the      be better to place them over water as is done by the
construction of mechanical traps which permit the          Chinese and some fishermen in western Africa.
full and voluntary entrance of a fish or crab but           Such spring rods are widely known in Java and are
which prevent its escape by means of a shutter             also used in line fishing in the modern Chinese
operated by the action of the animal (Burdon               freshwater fisheries (Figure 18.10), as well as in
1951). These include traps in which the catching           Thailand. They have also been used by some
mechanism depends on the use of the elastic power          Indians in South America. Bent rods for line fishing
of a bent rod. This rod is tied fast in a bent form so     are also known in Europe, where they have been
that it springs back into its original straight position   used on the Danube for catching salmon – here,
when the mechanism is released; these traps are            however, only by fish thieves. The arrangement is
called whippy bough or spring traps (Lips 1927;            not always as simple as has been described. Figure
Welcomme 1979).                                            18.11 shows a fishing line adapted to a whippy
   The principle of this trap is used in connection        bough trap – this time from Thailand (NN 1907).
with fishing lines. A fishing rod is bent so that line       The bent fishing rod is held by a small transverse
                             Mechanical Fishing Gear: Traps, Lines and Snares                              269

                                                        Figure 18.12 Bent-rod trap of Brazil. (From Lips 1927
                                                        with permission.)
Figure 18.10 A whippy rod used as Chinese freshwater
gear. (From Kasuga & Osaka 1975 with permission.)

                                                        Figure 18.13 Bent-rod trap for rats and crabs as used
                                                        in Cameroon. (From Monod 1928 with permission.)

                                                        Figure 18.14 Spring trap used in African rivers such as
                                                        the Niger and Chari and in Cameroun. (From Welcomme
                                                        1979 with permission.)

Figure 18.11 Automatic fishing line of Thailand. (From
NN 1953 with permission.)                               released by the movement of a little transverse stick
                                                        from which the bait is suspended. This same princi-
                                                        ple of the whippy bough can be used for closing
wooden stick, just as was previously used in gravity    pots or other traps. Figure 18.13 shows just such a
traps (Figure 18.2). Bent rods and the tension          trap from Cameroun, which closes through the
produced thereby are not only used for operating        release of a bent rod (Monod 1928). They are used
fishing lines, but are also applied to baskets adapted   for rats as well as for crabs. The same spring traps
as traps (Figure 18.12). Such a whippy bough trap       are known in the rivers Niger and Chari (in Chad
comes from Brazil. Here, too, the mechanism is          and Cameroun) (Figure 18.14) (Welcomme 1979).
270                                  Fish Catching Methods of the World

Spring traps also have a wider distribution. The          then tossed by the counterweight onto the ice. Thus
Indonesians knew and used such automatically              the counterweight had the same effect as the power
closing traps and so did the Indians from Guyana.         assembled in the bent rod of the whippy bough trap
But there are still other possibilities of successfully   (Kusnetzow 1898).
using the power that lies in bent rods for fishing
purposes. On the Mariana Isles, a crossbow-shaped
trap was used for placing in front of the holes in
which crayfish lurked (Figure 18.15). If a crayfish
entered the tube of the trap and pulled at the bait,
an arrow-like rod was shot out to block the exit.
   A special type of mechanical fishing gear can be
described from the old Russian fisheries and, as
such gear is relatively rare, it is included here
(Figure 18.16). To fish for the white sheatfish in
winter on the River Volga, a fishing hook was fas-
tened to the end of a long lever by means of a short
line. The lever rested with its centre on a block and
had a counterweight on the other end. The gear was
so arranged that the lever arm carrying the fish
hook was pulled downwards and fastened to a
support frozen in the ice. If the fish took the hook,      Figure 18.15 Crayfish trap of the Mariana Islands.
                                                          (From Lips 1927 with permission.)
it released the support by its movements and was

Figure 18.16 Old automatic line fishing for Coregonus leucichthys in River Volga, Russia (1861).
                              Mechanical Fishing Gear: Traps, Lines and Snares                                271

Figure 18.17 Torsion trap for prawns, used in southern
Taiwan. (From Lips 1927 with permission.)
                                                          Figure 18.18 Fish snares: (a) for sea trout used in
                                                          Switzerland; (b) shark snare with bait of the Western
                                                          Caroline Islands (from Eilers 1955 with permission); (c)
18.4 Torsion traps                                        stick snare of the Admiralty Islands (from Nevermann
                                                          1934 with permission); (d) stick snare of the Gilbert
A special group of genuine traps is formed by the         Islands (from Koch 1965 with permission).
torsion shutter traps. As the name implies, the
strength lying in twisted twines is used for these
traps. The old shape of the carpenter’s frame-saw         or waterfowl, as well as smaller and bigger
used the strength of these twisted twines to keep         mammals. Such passive snares, where the fish has to
the lateral parts which carried the saw blade under       close the loop to become snared, are not unknown
tension. The view is held that the knowledge of the       in fisheries. But more often the snare has to be
power of torsion is a characteristic of the superior      guided around the fish and tightened by the watch-
cultures of Asia and Africa. Figure 18.17 shows a         ing fisherman, like a lasso. For this reason it is some-
crayfish trap formerly used in southern Taiwan             times said that the fish or crab is lassoed instead of
which operated on this principle. It has two flaps (a      snared. Nevertheless, snares in any form of opera-
and b) fitted into twisted twines. These, therefore,       tion will be considered in this section.
have the tendency to flip over as soon as the safety          The snare, or noose, is made of a line, forming at
hook (c) is displaced by the crayfish gnawing at the       its end a loop with a running knot which tightens
bait on flap (a). The flaps knock the crayfish down          when the line is pulled. Sometimes the fish may
and hold it on the bottom, upside down.                   swim through the loop, attracted by bait, or the
                                                          watching fisherman may slip the loop carefully
                                                          around the prey before closing the line with a jerk.
18.5 Snares                                               In fisheries, smaller snares are mostly made of
Snares date back to the basic cultures of mankind         twisted or plaited horse hair; bigger ones are made
(Anell 1955). They belong to old gear used in             from line or soft wire such as brass, and nowadays
hunting as well as in fishing. The principle of true       of PA monofilaments. The different types of snares
snaring is, as mentioned before, that the prey            are known according to their mode of operation
releases a mechanism, tightening a loop of line           (Figure 18.18). Not only fish, but crabs, octopi and
around the body. Snares are considered as mechan-         even crocodiles can be caught by snares in fresh
ical traps: the prey, by its movement, closes the loop    waters as well as in sea waters. In European fish-
of the snare and so catches itself. This may be true      eries, pike are caught by snaring in the spring when
also of the unwatched snares of hunters, designed         these fish, just before spawning, stay in shallow
to take terrestrial animals such as birds in the forest   water. The snare, made of wire, is usually slipped
272                                  Fish Catching Methods of the World

                                                          putting this loop round the neck of a fish, he pulls
                                                          the end of the line he is holding in his hand, thus
                                                          squeezing the fish between the line and the lower
                                                          part of the stick (Anell 1955).
                                                             Sometimes, hand-operated snares are also baited
                                                          to attract prey into the range of a snare held by a
                                                          fisherman. Best known are the baited snares for
                                                          catching sharks (Figure 18.18b), or those in which
                                                          the shark is lured in an acoustic manner. Fishing
                                                          with shark snares is often described from Oceania.
                                                          In particular shark rattles are used today to lure the
                                                          fish (Chapter 11). In shark fishing the snare can be
                                                          held fast or be free-drifting. In the latter case, the
                                                          snare is connected to a propeller-shaped wooden
                                                          float working as a brake or retarder (Figure 9.28b).
Figure 18.19 Snare spread in a forklike stick ready for   The loop with the retarder is operated in such a way
catching pike. (From Peesch 1966 with permission.)        that the shark swims by itself through the loop.
                                                          When the fish has passed one third of its body
                                                          length through the snare, the loop is closed with a
carefully over the head of the pike by means of a         jerk. The fish trying to escape is very soon
rod. This can be a stick up to 2 m long and bifur-        exhausted by the drag of the retarder and can be
cated at its end (Figure 18.18a). This forked end is      killed with spears or clubs (Parkinson 1907).
made from wood; formerly, it was also made from              A new description of catching sharks with a
whalebone. Originally, the two branches of the stick      baited snare does not differ very much from an old
had to keep open the snare, as can be seen in that        one published many years ago. The method, from
formerly used for catching pike in the River Havel        the Santa Cruz Islands, initially lures the shark by
in eastern Germany (Figure 18.19). The stick of           operating rattles in the water (Koch 1971). If a
hazelwood had a length of > 1 m. With the help of         shark is attracted, rattling is stopped and some bait
the stick, the snare (made of twine or wire and kept      fish, fixed on a fishing line, is thrown into the water.
open by the two forks) is brought carefully over the      When the shark follows the bait, it is towed near to
head of the pike and the stick is ripped away very        the boat. When the shark is drawn within range, the
quickly: the noose is loosened from the two points        snare is thrown over the fish and is drawn tight. The
and is closed around the fish (Peesch 1966). As soon       shark is then killed with clubs. Bigger fish are held
as the wire gets behind the pectoral fin the snare is      and fixed outside the boat in such a manner that the
quickly pulled tight and the pike is thrown, with a       fish, if possible, helps the boat by its movements on
jerk, onto the land. Large carp, bream, sea trout and     the way home! Simple forms of snares, together
drub can be caught in the same way. In Ireland,           with bait, can be held by a diving fisherman in front
snaring was a common method of capturing salmon           of a hole where an eel is expected to be. With a
(Went 1964). Snaring is a fishing method known in          stick, bait is moved up and down near the snare till
many countries and especially used in small subsis-       the attracted fish leaves its hole and swims through
tence fisheries (Klunzinger 1892; Ligers 1953;             the loop – which is immediately closed (Koch 1965).
Gunda 1974; Solymos 1976).                                An interesting form of snaring is that used with kite
   Besides this simple form of snare, another type is     fishing (Chapter 8). In place of the spider-web
known which was specially developed for catching          towed over the water surface by a kite, a baited
eels. This so-called stick snare looks like an imple-     snare is attached to catch garfish. As soon as the fish
ment for catching snakes (Figure 18.18c,d). Indeed,       snaps at the bait, the operator jerks the line, thus
it is often used to secure eels and moray eels which      closing the loop round its upper jaw. The fish’s
try to escape. Here, a double line is drawn through       needle-like teeth prevent the loop from slipping off
a hollow stick, forming a small loop beneath the          the jaw. Another description from Singapore
lower opening. When the fisherman succeeds in              (Burdon 1954) of this former fishery for garfish with
                             Mechanical Fishing Gear: Traps, Lines and Snares                                  273

                                                         Figure 18.21 Snow trout taken by ‘loop fishing’ in Nepal.
                                                         The loop is operated by the pole-and-line method. A
                                                         small piece of lead acts as a lure and a small float, posi-
                                                         tioned on the water surface, supports the closing of the
                                                         snare. (From Shrestha 1979 with permission.)
Figure 18.20 Baited ‘lobster tackle’ from Hawaii with
two snares for catching crustaceans. (From Hosaka
1973 with permission.)
                                                         combined on one fishing line, with a rod as used for
                                                         pole-and-line fishing.The snare was originally made
kite and baited snare, explains that the loop was        of horse hair or plant fibres; now often of 2–4 mm
baited with a prawn. This, trailing over the water in    PA monofilaments. This material is mostly
response to the movements of the kite, simulated a       coloured, blue or transparent in clear water, and
prawn or small fish seeking to escape from its            multicoloured in turbid waters. There is no hook for
enemy by a frantic leap out of the water. Garfish         bait as with the gear of Hawaii, nevertheless the
were expected to follow their prey, also jumping out     snares in Nepal are used baited and unbaited.
of the water to take it. Once the bait is taken, the     Moreover a small piece of lead hanging under the
violence of the attack tightens the noose around the     snare is considered also as a lure. A heavy stone is
jaw of the garfish. In this case, the fish itself closes   needed to keep the gear in the right position when
the loop of the snare.                                   fishing in waters with a strong current. The snoods
   All snares mentioned so far have had a single         are operated with a pole of 5–8 m long for swinging
loop, but snares with two, three or five loops are        out the snares like a fly in spin fishing. The line is
also known. Figure 18.20 shows a tackle from             run through rings along the rod but there is no reel
Hawaii with two snares for catching langoustes. The      fixed on the rod for winding up the line.
snares are made of fine spring steel wire. A baited       This is done around a separate board, held in one
hook between the two loops attracts langoustes and       hand of the fisherman. There are more interesting
a heavy sinker is used to take the line down very        details with this gear, including a small wooden
fast to the bottom (Hosaka 1973).The attracted lan-      float by which the size and depth of the snare
gouste can be snared by the fisherman or will snare       can be regulated and which works like a retarding
itself in the loops. Also for fish, snares with more      device (Figure 18.21). This float and the sinker
than one loop are known, such as those of the ‘loop      will support the self-collapsing of the snare. Loop
line fishery’ for catching snow trout (Schizothora-       line fishing can be carried out only in waters
ichthys progastus) and others (Shrestha 1979). In        without underwater plants, as these tend to cause
this case not only two, but up to five, snares are        the loops to collapse before any fish can be caught
274                                    Fish Catching Methods of the World

(Shrestha 1979). Snares for fishing are, or have                Fang. Stuttgart.
been, known practically all over the world. But only         Koch, G. (1965) Materielle Kultur der Gilbert-Inseln.
                                                               Veröffentlichungen des Museums für Völkerkunde
rarely can they be regarded as genuine mechanical
                                                               Berlin NF 6, Berlin.
traps into which the fish would be likely to                  Koch, G. (1971) Die materielle Kultur der Santa Cruz-
swim without human help, thus catching itself by               Inseln. Veröffentlichungen des Museums für Völk-
closing the snare as it pushes forward. Snares, to be          erkunde Berlin NF 21, Berlin.
really effective in fisheries, generally need human           Kusnetzow, J. (1898) Fischerei und Tiererbeutung in den
                                                               Gewässern Russlands. St Petersburg.
guidance.                                                    Ligers, Z. (1953) La Cueillette, la Chasse et la Pêche en
                                                               Lettonie. Paris.
References                                                   Lips, J. (1927) Fallensysteme der Naturvölker. Leipzig.
                                                             Monod, T. (1928) L’industrie de Pêche au Cameroun.
Anell, B. (1955) Contribution to the History of Fishing in     Paris.
  Southern Seas. Uppsala.                                    Nevermann, H. (1934) Admiralitätsinseln. In: Ergebnisse
Briet, R. (1961) La Pêche en Lagune Ebrié. Abidjan.            der Südsee-Expedition 1908–1910, Vol. IIA. Hamburg.
Bruschek, E. (1962) Huchenfang mit dem ‘Hucheneisen’         NN (1772) Onomatologia Forestalis-Piscatorio-Venatoria
  am unteren Inn. Österreich Fischerei 15, 138–140.            oder Vollständiges Forst-, Fisch- und Jagdlexikon.
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Klunzinger, C.B. (1892) Bodenseefische, deren Pflege und

With many fishing gear made of netting it is found               distributed buoyancy. For the same reason sinkers
that fish sometimes hang in the mesh. In trying to               have sometimes been replaced by small chains and,
swim through a mesh of netting which is a little                later, by plaited lines filled with small pieces of lead.
smaller than the largest circumference of their                 To prevent the entangling of larger mesh with
body, they get stuck or, in other words, ‘meshed’.              single floats, net rings made of plastic can be used
This can happen at the beginning of the dorsal fin               as floats, as in the northern European countries.
of the fish, but mostly it will be behind the opercula              For the same reason, galvanized steel rings can
and the gills – i.e. they are ‘gilled’. The pressure of         be used to replace sinkers (see Figure 19.14). Han-
the mesh twine on the throat of the fish can cause               dling the gear is much easier with steel rings instead
the opercula to spread, and the net twine then                  of sinkers, and they keep the gear some distance off
hooks behind them so that the fish can go neither                wrecks, which are promising places for gillnetting
forward nor backward. By struggling to become                   but are, unfortunately, inclined to damage the net
free from the mesh the fish can further entangle                 by hooking.
itself. It may happen that small fishes can pass a                  Gillnets are usually set across the direction of the
mesh of certain netting without difficulty, but bigger           migrating fish, so that they try to make their way
ones can be gilled, or gilled and entangled, and                through the meshes of the netting. For this reason,
others, especially large ones, can be caught by                 gillnets can be operated in a variety of ways. There
entangling only, all in the same netting.                       are bottom nets, set on or near the bottom to catch
   As a result of these observations, special gear              demersal fish; there are anchored floating gillnets to
has been constructed to catch fish by gilling. These             catch mid-water fish; and there are free-drifting gill-
are the so-called ‘gillnets’ (Figure 19.1), discussed           nets or driftnets to catch surface fish as well as mid-
in this chapter. Other gear has been constructed to             water fish. There are further methods of operating
catch fish by entangling. These are the so-called                gillnets in quite a different way. One is the encir-
‘entangling nets’, which will be considered in                  cling gillnet which will be described with the drive-
Chapter 20. Gilling and entangling are two differ-              in fishery (Chapter 21); another is the dragged
ent principles of catching, but both can happen in              gillnet used in some freshwaters. Further, set gill-
the same fishing gear. On the other hand, gear used,             nets can be operated in such a form that they work
e.g. for catching crabs by entangling, should not be            like two-dimensional traps.
called a gillnet, as is sometimes done in the litera-              Generally, gillnetting is a clear-water fishery, used
ture. Gillnets are net walls kept more or less verti-           where there is not too strong a current and no float-
cal by floats on the upper line and mostly by                    ing vegetation (which can make the nets ineffective
weights on the ground-line. It is necessary to dis-             by filling up and joining the meshes). Other unde-
tribute floats and sinkers in an even manner. It was,            sirable matter includes mass-produced micro-
therefore, an advance to replace a large number of              organisms (water blossom) from natural causes or
floats by ‘swimming lines’. These are plaited lines,             resulting from pollution. Gillnetting has its limita-
incorporating floats, which provide a more evenly                tions in deep waters. In water that is too deep, the

276                                 Fish Catching Methods of the World

                                                        sible then. When a fish was gilled in an early netting
                                                        made of thick, stiff, non-elastic material, it was more
                                                        or less an accident, or special conditions pressed the
                                                        fish in large shoals into the netting, as in the old
                                                        north European herring fishery with driftnets made
                                                        of hemp. The current high efficiency of gillnetting
                                                        in sea and fresh water was not possible before the
                                                        introduction of synthetic fibres for net-making.
                                                           There is a long list of the properties of a gillnet